NAU came into their game with a 1-0 record after winning their first game against the Missouri State Bears 37-23. However, it was a completely matchup when the Lumberjacks squared off against the University of Arizona Wildcats Sept. 7 in Tucson, losing 65-41 against their state rivals.
It took one drive for the Wildcats offense to explode, as senior quarterback Khalil Tate needed only five plays to find junior receiver Tayvian Cunningham in the endzone for a 47-yard pass.
The next two drives, the Wildcats mainly ran the ball. Redshirt running back J.J. Taylor was able to score the second touchdown of the game for the Wildcats, running 65 yards on two different carries with a three-play total drive. The next Wildcat drive started with the ball on the 8-yard line on their side of the field. They started the drive with a loss of 2 yards but the very next play ended with a score.
Junior running back Gary Brightwell ran 94 yards and scored the third touchdown for the Wildcats. Within the first eight minutes of the game NAU had no answer for the Wildcats offense, who blew the score wide open 21-0.
The Lumberjacks finally found some offensive success on their third drive of the game. Senior quarterback Case Cookus was able to find redshirt junior Stacy Chukwumezie for a 24-yard touchdown.
Unfortunatly for the Lumberjacks, nothing changed in the second quarter. The Lumberjacks were able to find a field goal on a drive that was set up by a 56-yard throw from Cookus to NAU freshman receiver Hendrix Johnson. Although after this offense drive NAU struggled to find any other success drives the rest of the first half.
Additionally the Lumberjacks defense struggled tremendously, allowing Arizona to score touchdowns on all seven of their drives in the first half. The Wildcats took out Tate with 7:30 left in the second quarter to run down the clock into half time. The teams went into the locker rooms at the half with the score 51-13, a new first half scoring record for the Wildcats.
The second half became a different story for the Lumberjacks. They were able to score a touchdown on four of their five drives. NAU came out of their locker room and found two back-to-back scoring drives. The first drive ended with NAU redshirt freshman running back Jacob Mpungi capitalized by a touchdown on a 75-yard drive with a 2 yard run. The next drive consisted of a 7-yard rushing touchdown scored by junior running back Nate Stinson. NAU finally started to see some success in their offense.
On their third drive of the second half, Cookus threw his second interception of the game. However, the Lumberjacks were able to find their third and fourth touchdown of the second half from freshman receiver Terrell Hayward and freshman running back George Romero-Robinson.
Even though the Lumberjacks didn’t come home with a win this is the most they have ever scored against the Wildcats, which is something they can be proud of.
The Lumberjacks look to get back in the win column, as they face Western New Mexico University in a home match up Sept. 14 at 4 p.m.