HAMMOND, La. — Juwan Petit-Frere raced 85 yards for a touchdown with 29 seconds left in the third quarter and Southeastern Louisiana held on for a 21-17 victory over Nicholls State in a regular-season finale on Thursday night.

The loss knocked the Colonels (8-3, 7-2) out of contention in the Southland Conference race. Nicholls State came into the game tied with Sam Houston State and a game behind Central Arkansas.

The Colonels took a 7-0 lead on Dontrell Taylor’s 7-yard run with 2:14 left in the first quarter. But the Lions (6-5, 6-3) answered with Marcus Cooper’s 63-yard touchdown run, after the drive was extended because of a pass interference penalty, to tie it 7-7 after one quarter.

Nicholls State grabbed a 14-7 halftime lead on Damion Jeanpiere Jr.’s 7-yard TD run and stretched the advantage to 17-7 on Lorran Fonseca’s 22-yard field goal with 8:02 left in the third.

Southeastern Louisiana answered with a five-play, 75-yard drive that culminated in a 5-yard scoring pass from Byron Walker to Bransen Schwebel to pull within 17-14. Petit-Frere’s long TD run came on the Lions’ next possession. He finished with 88 yards on two carries.

Both teams did most of their damage on the ground. Nicholls State had 229 yards rushing, but just 94 through the air. SE Louisiana ran for 267 yards and passed for just 23.

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