On the Colonels' lone scoring drive, was the first enforcement of the new targeting rule.
On a 2nd down quarterback keeper, starter CB Terrance Mitchell connected helmets with a sliding Beaux Herbert.
"I would've given him a 15-yard penalty, but I wouldn't have ejected him," said defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti. "I just hope that they're is a lot more common sense in the calling of those plays."
How would Aliotti coach Mitchell different on the play?
"I wouldn't know what to tell him. Hope he slides and he doesn't keep running or else you become the defenseless player."
Under new rules, the Colonels were awarded 15 yards and Mitchell was disqualified for the remainder of the contest. Troy Hill replaced him for the rest of the game.
Oregon manhandled Nicholls up-front and shut-down the Colonel passing game with relative ease, but the 343 yards from total scrimmage were perhaps a bit unexpected.
The culprit on a number of plays appeared to be defensive communication between the linebackers, who were caught out of position on several long running gains.
"They made too many plays, I'll be honest with you," Aliotti said, "It's interesting you win 66-3 and we're sitting here trying to dissect it."
But according to starting inside backer, the communication between himself and Rodney Hardrick was not a problem.
"I think we did pretty well actually. All of us stuck together, the communication was great. It was pretty consistent actually," he said regarding the communication.
Despite the mistakes, Malone and Tony Washington, both new LB starters, led the team in tackles in the first half, with six and five respectively. Malone finished with a team-high 11 tackles.
"That's the goal each and every week, to be the best I can be… run hard, make plays. That's what I'm here to do," Malone said.
The Colonels failed to post a positive gain until their second series. But, they moved it past midfield on three other drives in the half.
Dior Mathis kept Nicholls from converting another field goal. The reserve corner used his track speed to get to the edge and knock the ball down.
Five newcomers saw the field in Saturday's season-opener. Matt Wogan took over the kickoff duties as expected, while Torrodney Prevot and Joe Walker played on multiple special team units. The pair of new linebackers had eight tackles, five from Prevot.
Walker also saw snaps with the reserve defense as early as the second quarter, while Prevot did in the second half.
Prevot picked up his first career sack and forced fumble midway through the fourth quarter. Prevot smacked the ball out of Kalen Henderson's hands into linebacker Rahim Cassell's arms.
Johnny Mundt was the first offensive newcomer to see the field. Mundt entered the game on the offense's second series, as Colt Lyerla's first sub at tight end. Offensive lineman Cameron Hunt also made an appearance, entering in the fourth quarter at right tackle.