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Kelley, SE Louisiana rally to beat Nicholls State 52-45

THIBODAUX, La. (AP) Cole Kelley passed for 391 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions on Saturday and Southeastern Louisiana rallied for a 52-45 win over Nicholls State in the River Bell Classic.

With the win, Southeastern Louisiana (4-2, 4-2 Southland Conference), ranked 23rd in the FCS Top 25, kept its hope alive for an at-large selection in the FCS playoffs. The Lions will face Southern Illinois on Saturday to close their season. Nicholls State (4-3, 3-3), ranked 18th, finished its season on Saturday and was effectively knocked out of playoff consideration with the loss.

The Lions returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the third quarter and scored three touchdowns by their offense in the second half to turn a 10-point deficit from late in the first half into a 52-38 lead.

Ferlando Jordan's interception and 35-yard TD return tied it at 24 for the Lions in the first minute of the third quarter, and Jack Henderson's interception and 23-yard TD return gave the Lions a 38-30 lead late in the third.

Nicholls State's Kevin Moore III sacked Kelley and forced a fumble in the middle of the fourth quarter when the Lions were deep in Colonels territory, but Southeastern recovered and Kelley completed a 20-yard TD pass to Nick Kovacs to make it 52-38 on the next play.

CJ Turner had 11 catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns for Southeastern Louisiana.

Julien Gums ran for 67 yards and a career-high four touchdowns for Nicholls State.

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Updated April 10, 2021

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