BEAUMONT, Texas — Lamar University rolled up 344 yards of offense, and the defense recorded an early pick six as the Cardinals went on to defeat Nicholls, 24-17, Saturday afternoon at Provost Umphrey Stadium. The victory – LU’s first of the season – put an end to a 15-game slide dating back to September of last season.
Of the Cardinals’ 344 yards of offense, 267 came on the ground as sophomore Khalan Griffin recorded his second consecutive 100-yard effort. Griffin ended the day with 17 carries for 131 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman R.J. Carver also had a big night carrying the ball 13 times for 60 yards.
Freshman quarterback Mike Chandler completed 6-of-13 passes for 77 yards. He also carried the ball five times for 38 yards.
Big Red’s defense – which held Nicholls to 365 yards – was led by two players in double figures. Tyler Jackson led the Cardinals with 16 tackles, while Caleb Arnold added 13. Freshman Aaron King ended the night with two tackles, two pass breakups and arguably the biggest play of the game when he picked off a pass and returned 55 yards for a score.
The game was scoreless until midway through the second quarter when Chandler led a 10-play, 71-yard drive that ended with a Griffin one-yard run for the score. The drive consumed 4:47 off the clock. Moments later it was the defense’s turn to come up with a big play as King recorded his first career interception which he returned for a score to give LU a 14-0 lead with less than six minutes to play in the half.
The lead remained at 14 until 20 seconds left to go in the half when the Colonels got a 33-yard field goal. The Colonels made it a four-point game less than two minutes into the third quarter when David Robinson caught a pass and took it 67 yards for the score.
The Cardinals proved they had the ability to put points on the board quickly when they went back on the attack just 78 seconds later. Griffin capped a three-play, 73-yard drive with a 35-yard run for the score.
Nicholls managed to pull back within four late in the quarter, but the Cardinals had an answer with a 26-yard field goal from Chris Esqueda. The kick made it a seven-point lead, 24-17, and the Cardinals defense took over from there not allowing Nicholls another crack at the scoreboard.
Big Red will look to make it two in a row Saturday, Nov. 5, when they host Southeastern Louisiana. The game against the Lions will kick off at 3 p.m.