Football Takes on Ole Miss Saturday, Game Available on CSS, ESPN Game Plan and ESPN360.com
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - When Northern
Arizona quarterback Michael Herrick transferred to NAU in the
spring of 2008, the last place he thought he would play a game was
back at Ole Miss. But the Lumberjacks added the game last spring
and Herrick will lead the Lumberjacks into Oxford as the starting
quarterback at NAU.
“I am going to approach this game the way I do every other game,” said Herrick, who was a member of the Rebel program for the 2006 and 2007 seasons. “There is a little bit of emotion to the game since I used to play there and I am familiar with it and know some of the guys on the team. I am going to approach it the same. I am excited for teammates. It is going to be a fun game to play.”
The game will be available live online via ESPN360.com -- ESPN's signature broadband sports TV network. The game is available completely free to any student on campus (in fact, to any student on any U.S. college campus -- nearly 18 million people). The game can also be seen on CSS and ESPN Game Plan and heard on the Sodexo Lumberjack Radio Network in Flagstaff (KAFF AM 930) and Phoenix/Globe (KRDE 94.1 FM). Fans outside of Arizona can hear the broadcast at www.stretchinternet.com. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:35 Mountain Standard Time.
Herrick ranks among the FCS Top 10 in passing efficiency (159.1) and total offense (303.3) this season. He has thrown for 2,477 yards with 18 touchdowns and just five interceptions in eight games this season. He is completing 68.8 percent of his throws, completing 196-for-285 passes on the season.
“My teammates and my coaches have given me an opportunity to play and show what I got,” said Herrick. “My offensive line has done a tremendous job this whole year. The receivers have been getting open and the coaches have been calling the right plays. I have to give credit to all of them because I am nothing without them.”
Ole Miss has been ranked as high as No. 5 in the nation this season and had high aspirations after a strong finish to 2008 and a victory in the Cotton Bowl against Texas Tech. But the Rebels enter the game with a 5-3 mark and 2-3 in the SEC.
“Ole Miss presents a challenge that is very difficult to prepare for,” said Head Coach Jerome Souers. “We don’t have that kind of speed in our program to practice against or do anything fundamentality against. It will present a hardship for us. There is going to have to be a lot of adapting on the run.”
NAU is one of three FCS schools playing two FBS schools this season that both went to a bowl game in 2008 and won the bowl game. Overall, there are 16 FCS schools playing two FBS teams this season. Eight of the 16 are playing two FBS schools that both went to bowl game in 2008.
“This is a tough game for us in regards to the speed and athleticism we are going to see,” said Souers. “We don’t normally team that type of team on our schedule. We are FCS and the way we recruit, we recruit good kids who play hard and have a good heart. They are probably three or four inches and 30 or 40 points smaller than the type of player that gets recruited at the higher levels. It is difficult coming into a game like that. We match up fine at our level. But when you see the kind of speed and athleticism that we are going to line up to it is going to make it really difficult for us.”
Herrick says the Lumberjacks need to stick together and stay with the game plan.
“We just have to be smart and protect the football,” said Herrick. “We have to trust each other. We can’t be intimidated. We respect Ole Miss and the big time football definitely. We just can’t be afraid. I think we just have to play our game and hopefully things go our way. We are going to go out and try to win like we do every week.”
NAU returns to Big Sky Conference play next week at Weber State.
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