Nichols Ranked No. 47 In Big Sky History - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Nichols Ranked No. 47 In Big Sky History

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© 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

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