NAU took their 3-3 record to Ogden, Utah to face off against Weber State University Saturday.
Weber State came out strong, with sophomore running back Josh Davis scoring a 54-yard touchdown run in the first minute of the game. NAU responded with a quick scoring drive of their own that concluded in a 63-yard pass from senior quarterback Case Cookus to junior wide receiver Stacey Chukwumezie, and the ensuing extra point tied the game at 7-all in the first.
Weber State answered the call as Davis broke off for a 44-yard touchdown early in the second quarter.
Cookus then completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Hendrix Johnson to tie the game at 14 with 10:08 left in the second quarter. With this play, Cookus broke the NAU record for touchdown passes, having 95 overall.
After a defensive stop by the Lumberjacks, Cookus connected on a one-play drive for 94 yards again to Chukwumezie, which left the halftime score at 21-14.
Although NAU had the lead at halftime, the story of the first half was Weber State’s 251 rushing yards to NAU’s 20.
After a Weber State field goal cut the lead to 17-21, a third-down stop gave them the ball once again and eventually the lead after a 3-yard touchdown by Josh Davis that brought the score to 24-21 with Weber on top.
Weber State rushed a touchdown and botched an extra point, making it 30-21 with 2:30 left in the third quarter. This created a turning point for Weber State, who gained 16 straight points for the home team and set the tone of rushing dominance for the day.
It became apparent that NAU was unraveling as unanswered points began to add up, but the Lumberjacks finally managed to respond early in the fourth quarter with another 44-yard, Cookus-to-Johnson connection that cut the lead to 30-28.
Weber State’s 5-yard rush by redshirt freshman running back Kris Jackson widened the gap again to 37-28. They continued to pour on with another rushing touchdown at the 1-yard line from Davis, making it 44-28. NAU started to show defensive fatigue. Yet another rushing score by Weber State put them up 51-28 with just under six minutes left to play, which effectively ended NAU’s hopes of mounting a comeback.
Although Cookus put up four touchdowns and 359 yards with a QBR of 186.3, NAU went a dismal 2-13 on third down and lost two fumbles, which made it increasingly difficult to keep up with Weber State’s high-powered offense.
The top performer of the game was Weber State running back Josh Davis, who picked up 328 rushing yards to go along with four touchdowns and an impressive average of 9.6 yards per carry.
After falling to 3-4 on the season, NAU will try to bounce back at home Oct. 26 when they take on Portland State University at 4 p.m.