Football Drops Season Finale to Southern Utah
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona football team lost its season finale Saturday to Southern Utah 27-24 at the Walkup Skydome.
The Lumberjacks led 17-3 late in the second quarter but gave up 24 unanswered points before making a late comeback but it was too late.
"Zach Bauman was absolutely phenomenal today at times," said Head Coach Jerome Souers. "When they tied up the front and secured up a better run defense approach, we need to be able to pass the ball. In the third quarter we failed to connect on some opportunities that were there."
NAU (4-7) jumped out to a 14-0 lead with two scoring drives in the opening quarter behind 109 rushing yards by Zach Bauman, including a 64-yard run that resulted in the second score. The teams exchanged field goals before the Thunderbirds scored just before the half to cut the lead to 17-10 at halftime.
Southern Utah scored the only points of the third quarter to tie the game on 1-yard run by Henna Brown. The Lumberjacks missed two scoring opportunities in the quarter with a red zone fumble and missed 30-yard field goal.
The Thunderbirds went ahead early in the fourth with a 60-yard strike from Brad Sorensen to Abbel Aliono, who broke a tackle and went down the sideline for a big score. They added a field goal by Colton Cook to extend the lead to 10 points.
"We had one good drive in the fourth quarter but we needed more to win the game," said Souers.
NAU last chance was to stop Southern Utah to get the ball back but Sorensen hit Fatu Moala for a 28-yard completion on third down. The Thunderbirds can out the rest of the clock to seal the victory.
Bauman finished with 157 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He finished the season with 1,435 yards and 15 touchdowns, rushing for 100 or more yards with two touchdowns in each of the last four games.
NAU lost a combined five games by 20 points during the season, including each of the last two to complete 2011 by three points each.