Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks Finally Beat Montana Grizzlies

Alan BlackAnalyst IIISeptember 23, 2012

Aug. 30, 2012; Tempe, AZ, USA; Northern Arizona forward back Jake Thomas (46) before the game against Arizona State at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Hilderbrand-US PRESSWIRE
Jennifer Hilderbrand-US PRESSWIRE

NAU head coach Jerome Souers has been at the Lumberjacks' helm for 15 years. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach for the Montana Grizzlies.  Since taking the head coaching job at NAU, Souers has gone 0 for 14 against his former team.  On Saturday, he finally broke that streak.

The Lumberjacks went in to Missoula and spoiled Montana's homecoming, winning 41-31.  After 15 years, NAU ended their frustration the hard way, going into the hostile confines of Washington-Grizzly Stadium and pulling off the upset.

The hero for NAU was running back Zach Bauman, who rushed for 253 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries.  Included in those numbers is a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play of the game that served as a notice to the Grizzlies that this wasn't going to be another easy win.

The Lumberjack defense also had a big game, forcing five turnovers.  They picked off freshman QB Trent McKinney three times and also forced two fumbles. 

NAU QB Cary Grossart had an effective game, going 16 of 23 for 138 yards and one touchdown, with no interceptions.  The Lumberjacks protected the ball all day, as they had no turnovers.

This year's NAU team bears little resemblance to the pushovers of the past.  Using a dominant running game, an opportunistic defense and a disciplined game plan on offense that stressed ball security, the Lumberjacks knocked off powerhouse Montana and served notice to the rest of the Big Sky Conference that they are a threat to be taken seriously this season.