The Nichols College football team scored 40 points for the second-straight week in a 42-24 win over the University of New England Saturday afternoon in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Football opener for both programs at Vendetti Field.
Senior Jacob Duffrene rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns while sophomores Joshua Pierre-Charles and Xavier Hackett each scored rushing touchdowns of 50+ yards for the Bison (3-2, 1-0 CCC), who compiled 483 yards of total offense. Junior signal-caller Michael Pina completed 16-of-23 pass attempts for 230 yards and a pair of scores – one each to sophomore Amari Smith and freshman Hunter Ferreira.
Senior captain McCoy Scott led the defense with 12 tackles (1.5 tackles for loss) while junior Christopher Lawrence and sophomore Dylan McNamara each forced a fumble. Senior Princewell Iwejuo recorded his fifth interception of the season.
Sophomore Ryan Gaboury caught seven passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns (15, 12) for UNE (0-3, 0-1 CCC). Sophomore quarterback Brian Peters completed 16-of-30 for 155 yards and was sacked four times. Freshman back Devon Charles rushed for a team-high 73 yards.
The Bison capitalized on a UNE turnover late in the first half and grabbed a 7-0 lead on Duffrene's fourth rushing touchdown of the afternoon from one yard out. Sophomore Amari Smith then capped an 11-play, 91-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown reception – the first of his collegiate career – with 6:21 to go in the second to give NC a 14-3 lead.
In the third, a 62-yard scoring run from Pierre-Charles and a 52-yarder from Hackett just 1:58 apart extended the Bison lead to 28-10. Duffrene's second scoring run of the day – this one from 24-yards out – pushed the lead to 35-16 before Ferreira's second touchdown of the season from 46 yards away capped the scoring late in the fourth.
Three things you need to know...
-The last time to Bison scored 40+ points in consecutive games was 2016, when they dropped 43 on Curry (Oct. 29) and 54 at Maine Maritime (Nov. 5).
-Nichols is now 1-0 in conference play for the first time since the 2009 campaign, when it opened the season with a 31-19 win over MIT at Vendetti Field.
-Iwejuo's five interceptions is tied for the CCC lead and is tied for the third-highest single-season mark in program history.
"We made a lot of mistakes early and put ourselves in a bind. We were fortunate to be up 14-10 at halftime. Looking back at the stats, we hit a lot of big plays. Hunter scored a 46-yard touchdown, Jacob with a 24-yard touchdown, Xavier scored a 52-yard touchdown, Josh had a 52-yard touchdown run….we have big-play capability on offense. This is the second week in a row we've displayed that. That's no fluke. It was great to also get some new faces involved, including a touchdown catch from Amari Smith. Josiah Cook also made a huge 45-yard catch to get us going. With the talent we have, I don't see why we can't be in every game." –Nichols head coach Dale Olmsted
Saturday, Oct. 6 @ Endicott, 12:00 p.m.
Big plays send Bison past UNE on Homecoming, 42-24
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