FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – For the second consecutive scrimmage, the defense and kicking game were strong as the Northern Arizona football team prepared for its season opener at Arizona State on Aug. 30. The defense forced four turnovers and held the offense without a touchdown.
"I thought the defense did a good job of creating some turnovers and holding them out of the end zone," said Defensive Coordinator Andy Thompson. "Those are things that help you win some games. I was proud of that."
"There is a lot of competitive tension with our specialists," said Head Coach Jerome Souers. "Both snappers are pushing each other. Andy Wilder is shaping into our punter and coming into form. The last couple days have been really significant. I don't think our place-kicking duties could be any closer than it is right now between Andy Wilder and Ryan Hawkins."
The scrimmage started with a 25-yard run by junior Zach Bauman that was called back on off-setting penalties. Overall, there were eight flags in the scrimmage. Bauman finished with 43 yards on eight carries and Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson had 44 yards on four rushes. Junior wideout Ify Umodu had a team-best three catches.
"Our offense made some plays tonight that were negated by penalties and mistakes that had been uncharacteristic of that unit," said Souers. "We look forward to going back to work tomorrow with a different sense of urgency with an approach to take care of those mistakes."
"We set the scrimmage to be as game-like as we could," said Souers. "We exposed some things that we have to work on. We had too many mistakes tonight – penalties, ball security and missed assignments. All in all, I know we have practiced better and we are capable of better. They are fixable. If there is a positive we have time to fix it."
Souers was again pleased by the defensive effort shown in the scrimmage.
"I am glad to see the defense play good rush defense, creating turnovers and being destructive," said Souers. "It is the type of defense we aspire to be and that group played well tonight."
The Lumberjacks return to the field Saturday with a practice from 4-6 p.m. with the opener against the Sun Devils 11 days away.
GAME TIME CHANGES: Two home game times have been moved to accommodate live television coverage. The games against Portland State on Sept. 29 and the Southern Utah contest on Nov. 10 will both kick off at 2:05 p.m. The three remaining contests, including the home opener on Sept. 15 against Fort Lewis, will start at 4:05 p.m. The complete television schedule will be announced next week for the 2012 season.
Rushing: Bauman 8-43-0; Deboskie-Johnsen 4-44-0; Pipkin 5-30-0; Shanks 1-13-0; Cartwright 1-3-0; Grossart 1-(-2)-0.
Passing: Grossart 12-19-0 126; Cartwright 4-8-1 83.
Receiving: Umodu 3-29-0; Holmes 2-44-0; Deboskie-Johnsen 2-9-0; Babineaux 1-47-0; Cole 1-17-0; Bauman 1-15-0; Deboskie 1-12-0; Walker 1-11-0; Dang 1-8-0; Bueno 1-7-0; Butier 1-6-0; Hess 1-5-0; Shanks 1-0-0.