HAMMOND, La. -- Chase Fourcade threw a 57-yard touchdown pass to Dai'Jean Dixon with 1:30 left and Nicholls survived a wild finish Thursday night to beat Southeastern Louisiana 28-27, clinching a share of the Southland Conference title and a bid to the FCS playoffs.
Nicholls (8-4, 7-2) got a break when Bryce Broussard missed a PAT attempt after SE Louisiana (7-4, 6-3) took a 27-21 lead with 2:21 left in the game.
The Lions' Dominic Lamm intercepted Fourcade's pass with a leaping one-handed grab that set up Southeastern Louisiana at the Nicholls 29 with 3:07 left. Three plays later, Chason Virgil completed a 17-yard TD pass to Austin Mitchell that gave the Lions the lead.
After Nicholls answered with a three-play, 75-yard drive that took only 45 seconds, Alec Bland tried a squib quick that bounced off a Lions player and was recovered in a scrum by the Lions at the SLU 44.
With the benefit of roughing the passer and pass interference penalties, the Lions drove 55 yards to the Nicholls 2. On a second-and-goal Cole Kelley fumbled and Nicholls' Sully Laiche recovered with 21 seconds left. Nicholls ran the clock out on four plays to secure the win.
Fourcade finished with 288 yards passing, three touchdowns and an interception. Dixon caught nine passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns, and Julien Gums ran 18 times for 133 yards and a score.
Virgil passed for 321 yards, a touchdown and an interception for the Lions.
Nicholls holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Central Arkansas (8-3, 6-2) for the FCS playoffs automatic bid. The Bears can still clinch a share of the Southland title with a win over Incarnate Word on Friday.
More AP college football: http://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25
Legendary Texas Longhorns FB Steve Worster, inspiration for wishbone offense, dies at 73
Steve Worster, a bruising fullback who was the inspiration for the creation of the wishbone offense at Texas, died on Saturday at 73.
Florida Gators cap big recruiting weekend with LB Myles Graham
Linebacker Myles Graham, No. 58 in the Junior 300, from Woodward Academy in Atlanta, became the latest player to commit to Florida on Sunday.
Kayleb Wagner broke Derrick Henry's rushing record. Can he get an FBS scholarship?
The Florida high school senior broke Derrick Henry's state rushing record last year. But he's still waiting for interest from top colleges.
Why the over on LSU's win total is a smart play
Doug Kezirian breaks down why taking the over on LSU's projected seven wins this season is a smart play.
The incredible story of Kayleb Wagner
Kayleb Wagner may not have all his limbs, but he does not let that stop him from making big plays happen on the football field.
Why Bill Clark is walking away from the UAB football program he helped revive
When UAB shut down football, Bill Clark stuck around to rebuild and revitalize the program, overseeing one of the most impressive turnaround jobs in the sport. Then a back injury forced an abrupt retirement this summer.