AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) — After a promising start, the incessant, pounding rushing attack of Air Force proved to be too much for Nicholls.
Jacobi Owens rushed for 233 yards in his Air Force debut and Devin Rushing scored two short touchdowns, helping the Falcons beat the visiting Colonels 44-16 on Saturday and drop Nicholls' record against FBS opponents to 3-21.
It was the Falcons' 19th straight win over a team from the Football Championship Subdivision.
Nicholls forced Air Force to punt on its first two possessions before Weston Steelhammer sacked Colonels quarterback Kalen Henderson in the end zone for a safety. After a sub-par punt by Nicholls, the Falcons made it 9-0 on a Garrett Brown 5-yard run.
"We are going to have to throw it to get it out of there, because I didn't feel like we could run it out of there on them," Nicholls coach Charlie Stubbs said. "We just hesitated on it, and they got a nice safety. They got great field position, took it down and wow."
The Colonels rebounded to tie the game 9-9 with 13:20 left in the second quarter after Tobias Lofton ran untouched into the end zone from 18 yards out and Francisco Condado booted a 37-yard field goal.
It was as close as the Colonels would get.
Air Force used its methodical ground game to reel off the next 35 points and build a 44-9 lead midway through the fourth quarter. The Falcons finished with 539 yards rushing, the team's highest total since 2011.
"They got out on the perimeter on us with those pitches on the option and got us out in space," Stubbs said. "When you get defenders out in space, you've got to be tremendous tacklers and be able to get off blocks. We weren't able to do that."
Henderson, who led the Colonels to a victory over Western Michigan last year, was held to 136 yards passing and was sacked four times. An inability to finish drives plagued Nicholls, and Henderson felt his squad could have kept the game closer in the first half.
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