Changing the Game
Southeastern had single coverage with a small defensive back on star receiver Dai’Jean Dixon who was going to run a vertical. Chase Fourcade knew all he had to do was to throw a catchable ball and Dixon would grab it, setting up the Colonels for consecutive conference championships and another playoff berth.
But even with the confidence he carries in himself and his receiver, Fourcade says it felt like the ball hung in the air forever. His mind filled with the words teammate Kohen Granier told him just before he took the field for that last possession, “This is the drive that can set your mark at Nicholls. This is what champions are made of.”
Dixon caught that pass and scored. The Colonels would go on another playoff run before Fourcade’s career ended at the eventual national champions, North Dakota State. But Fourcade cemented his legacy long before that pass eventually came down.
Four years prior, when Fourcade was still in high school, Nicholls Football looked a lot different. The Colonels had won just nine games in the last five seasons and had not had a winning season since 2007. But Football Coach Tim Rebowe was selling players like Fourcade on writing a new history on the Bayou.
“He told us we were going to leave a legacy here,” Fourcade says. “He didn’t tell me about records, but he said we were going to do everything it takes to be on top.”
That is exactly what Fourcade wanted to hear. He spurned FBS offers from Maryland and UL-Monroe to head to Nicholls.
“I told Coach Rebowe I committed to Nicholls because I wanted to rebuild this program,” he says. “That was my vision, and I think we did that.”
That mentality spread like wildfire. What started as Fourcade staying late to throw to a handful of receivers turned into full-on 7-on-7 match-ups after practice.
“I committed to Nicholls because I wanted to rebuild this program,” he says. “That was my vision, and I think we did that.” – Chase Fourcade
“He has grown every year, becoming the leader of not just the quarterback room or the offense, but the entire team,” Rebowe says. “His maturity level and his confidence just got better every year. He is one of those guys who hates to lose so much that it drives him in every way.”
Fourcade says he can see how the mentality of the players on the team have changed from when he arrived. Now, he sees a team that expects to win and knows how hard they have to work to be successful.
“Those guys all have a common goal for Nicholls Football and know what they’re trying to accomplish,” he says. “Coach Rebowe has them doing the right thing and putting them in the right spot, and they are listening and responding to his vision.”
His memories are highlight reels of the games he has played. The highs and the lows. The game plan, and the halftime adjustments. He remembers the exact play call on the pass that gave Nicholls the lead against Georgia in 2016, and how odd Houston Baptist’s coverage was on his game-winning pass against the Huskies in 2017.
He lives these moments repeatedly in his head. None more so than the pass against Southeastern.
“That was a day one install in fall camp and we called it in week 12. How the defense lined up, I knew coach Rob [Cristophel] made the right play call,” Fourcade says. “I still talk about that game and I think about that play every day of my life.”
Fourcade leaves Nicholls as the all-time leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns, completion percentage, total yards, rushing touchdowns, touchdowns responsible for and scoring. He was the Southland Conference Player of the Year in 2018 and the Southland Offensive Player of the Year in 2019. He led a team that went from afterthought within its own state to back-to-back Southland Conference titles and three playoff appearances.
He’s had a cup of coffee in the Spring League and now with the National Arena League.
Fourcade admits it will be “pretty weird” to not put on the No. 9 jersey again when the Colonels take the field again, but that he’s happy with how his career at Nicholls turned out.
“What I’ve done here, and what they’re going to continue to do here, it’s amazing, and it’s great to be part of a winning program,” he says. – Jacob Batte