Nichols Ranked No. 47 In Big Sky History - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Nichols Ranked No. 47 In Big Sky History

Posted: Updated:
© EWU Athletics © EWU Athletics
CHENEY, Wash. -

Injuries are something new for the athlete who ranks 47th on the Big Sky's list of "50 Greatest Athletes''.
Matt Nichols never missed a practice or a game during a storied career at Eastern Washington, a tenure that saw him play in 47 contests, throw for a Big Sky record 12,616 career yards and 96 touchdowns.
Unfortunately, the injury bug has gripped Nichols over the past year as he worked to solidify himself as the Edmonton Eskimos starting quarterback in the Canadian Football League.
First, there was a gruesome ankle injury in the Eskimos' playoff loss last November. Healthy and recharged this summer, his 2013 season ended in June when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a preseason game.
"I've only had two injuries, but it seems like I've been injured forever,'' Nichols said. "It's the first time I've missed a season, or missed any time in my whole life. It's not too bad though. It's not a career-ending injury. You've seen people come back even stronger. I'm only 26 and I've had four years of pro experience. I'm a veteran guy at a relatively young age. I feel like I've got 10-plus years of football left in me.''
It's that kind of attitude that helped Nichols endure the ups-and-downs of his freshman campaign in 2006, when as a freshman he started all 11 games during a 3-8 season that saw him throw eight touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
Things got better in 2007, when as a sophomore he guided the Eagles to a 9-4 season, and a trip to the national quarterfinals. He threw for 3,744 yards and 34 touchdowns with just nine interceptions and earned the first of two Big Sky Offensive MVPs.
Another 3,000-plus yard season followed in 2008, and in 2009 as a senior, Nichols garnered Big Sky Offensive MVP honors again when he threw for 3,830 yards with 33 touchdowns and just six interceptions. The Eagles earned a playoff bid, and Nichols finished fourth in the voting for the Walter Payton Award.
"I enjoyed playing in the Big Sky,'' Nichols said. "It was a battle week after week. I think it's gotten even better from my time to now. It was exciting to be a part of.''
Nichols is the Big Sky's all-time leader in pass attempts in a game (76), pass attempts in a career (1,608), career passing yards (12,616), and total offense (13,308). His 96 career touchdown passes rank second in league history. Unlike some league quarterbacks who played in the 80s and 90s, Nichols' playoff stats counted toward his career numbers.
"It's pretty cool,'' Nichols said of being named to the "50 Greatest." "Obviously the conference has a lot of history and many extremely good players. I've been around a lot of them, and a lot of them continued their playing careers. To be on a list with good players throughout history is pretty cool.''
Nichols still keeps close ties to Eastern Washington. He and his wife Ali live in Spokane during the off-season.
"I go out there and throw, and talk to Coach Beau Baldwin,'' Nichols said. "I play in the EWU golf tournament and those types of things. Usually when our season gets over, I'll try to catch a game or two. I'm hoping to see a couple this year.''

Courtesy: Jon Kasper - Big Sky Conference

  • College

    • Defense dominates in Eastern's first Fall scrimmage

      There were only compliments being passed around after Eastern Washington University defensive units held EWU's vaunted offense without a touchdown in EWU's 72-play scrimmage Saturday at Roos Field.

    • Griz offense shines in second scrimmage of fall camp

      The Montana Grizzly defense might have stolen the show last week in the first scrimmage of fall camp. But the offense would not be denied Saturday as they racked up 24 first downs and nearly 400 yards of total offense.  

    • Vandals to host open scrimmage on Saturday

      Idaho football will wrap up fall camp Saturday (Aug. 19), with a scrimmage at 10 a.m. in the Kibbie Dome. The scrimmage is open to the public and will be the final chance for fans to see the Vandals in action before the season opener Aug. 31, against Sacramento State.
    • Danielle Mauldin joins Eagles women's basketball coaching staff

      Mauldin is Saint Mary's and the West Coast Conference's all-time leading rebounder with 1,282 over four years and also set a SMC program record for double-doubles.

    • Zags women’s soccer home match versus BYU on ESPNU

      Gonzaga will host preseason No. 8 BYU from Luger Field in a meeting that will have first-year GU head coach Chris Watkins facing his former school.

    • Gonzaga women's soccer begins regular season Friday

      The Zags are unbeaten in their last five season-openers, dating back to the 3-1 win over South Dakota in 2012. GU beat Nevada in Hawaii in last season’s opener, 1-0.

    • Jake Browning named to Manning Award watch list

      Browning was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting after passing for 3,430 yards and a Pac-12, record-tying 43 touchdowns in 2016.

    • Vandals QB Linehan named to Manning Award watch list

      Linehan threw for 3,184 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior, earning second-team All-Sun Belt honors. He also went on to capture the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Most Valuable Player award, after leading the Vandals to a win over Colorado State.

    • Luke Falk named to Manning Award watch list

      Falk, a redshirt-senior, was also finalist for the Johnny Unitas Award and a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien Award and Maxwell Award last season after throwing for the third-most yards in the country (4,468) and tying his own school-record with 38 touchdown passes.

    • Raptors sign Kyle Wiltjer to a 1-year deal

      Wiltjer, 6-foot-10, 240 pounds, appeared in 14 games for the Houston Rockets last season, totaling 13 points and 10 rebounds in 44 minutes of action. He also averaged 20.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 35.9 minutes in 22 contests for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA G League.