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Football Travels to Northern Colorado Saturday

Football Travels to Northern Colorado Saturday

NAU Game Notes vs. Northern Colorado (PDF)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The No. 13 Northern Arizona football team hits the road for the first of two straight away from Flagstaff to take on Northern Colorado Saturday at 12:35 p.m. Arizona time.

Fans can also listen to the game on the Big Talker on 105.1 FM The Big Talker in Flagstaff, Prescott and Sedona and online on The Big Talker website and via their mobile app on your phone. The game can be seen on Big Sky TV. Fans can also watch the game at two big screens at Granny's Closet in Flagstaff.

NAU (6-1, 4-0 Big Sky) will be looking for the seventh straight win on the season. It would be the longest single-season win streak since the 1958 Lumberjack team won 11 consecutive to reach the NAIA National Championship game.

"Our focus has been and always will be one week at a time," said Head Coach Jerome Souers. "We are focusing on Saturday. We are working on the things we need to do to get better fundamentally and dialing in the schemes we need to have prepared for a good Northern Colorado team."

NAU and Northern Colorado will be meeting for the seventh time in school history as members of the Big Sky Conference with the Lumberjacks winning the previous six games and nine overall. The Lumberjacks are 5-1 all-time in Greeley and 9-2 all-time against the Bears. The Lumberjacks last lost to the Bears in 1978 by the score of 33-6 in Greeley. The last two games in Greeley have been decided by a combined 10 points.

"Historically this game has been a tough match up there," said Souers. "It has always been down to the last drive and a battle until the end. We expect the same type of game."

The Bears (2-5, 1-3 Big Sky) are coming off a 52-14 victory over Idaho State, totaling 527 yards of offense, the second-most since they joined the Big Sky, in the win. It was the first Big Sky win for UNC this season.

"They found some new confidence (last week)," said Souers. "I really believe a lot of times the difference between the better teams in the conference is confidence. When you find it, it is a good thing and players play more aggressively. Our job early on will be to survive the early wave of energy they are going to have."

Northern Arizona (21.1) and Northern Colorado (19.1) are the top two punt return teams, respectively, in the Big Sky Conference and feature the top two punt returners in the nation. The Lumberjacks have 14 returns for 296 yards, while the Bears have 15 returns for 287 yards.

"Both teams have volatile returners and excellent specialists," said Souers. "It is going to be an interesting game to see how the strategies work out and who is going to execute."

The Lumberjack defense has provided momentum for the team in 2012, helping win several games during the recent run. NAU ranks first in the Big Sky in pass defense (194.4) and second overall in total defense (343.0). The Lumberjacks were seventh in the league last season against  the pass at 251.4 yards per game. The Lumberjacks have nine interceptions, tied for second best in the league, this season after seven games. They recorded just six all last season.

"Each week the defense has got better," said Souers. "We want to get better each week in all facets of our game. We have watched some great improvement with our defense this year. Last week we saw a UC Davis team that was an outstanding team. We got better in the pass rush and pass defense. It is what we need to do against Northern Colorado, a team that is getting better every week."