SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – No. 16/19 Northern Arizona (6-2, 4-1 Big Sky) used an all-around team effort tonight as it defeated Cal Poly 17-13. The Lumberjacks were able to overcome a pair of fumbles and a missed field goal to earn the victory at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
It was a packed house in San Luis Obispo, but the Northern Arizona defense stepped up late in the fourth quarter to help seal the road win for the Lumberjacks.
"It was incredible," said junior linebacker Austin Hasquet. "We were down at one point, but we didn't give up. We came out in the second half and kind of stunned them. It was a team effort."
Northern Arizona took an early 3-0 lead in the first quarter when Andy Wilder connected on a 37-yard field goal. The Lumberjacks were able to hold onto the lead until six minutes in the second quarter when the Mustangs (3-5, 2-2 Big Sky) broke through the NAU defense and rushed 33 yards into the end zone.
The Lumberjacks would not be held without a touchdown in the first half as junior quarterback Chase Cartwright found true freshman Patrick Baldenegro in the end zone. The touchdown catch was the first of Baldenegro's career.
With time winding down in the second quarter, the Mustangs' Bobby Zalud connected on a 39-yard field goal to send both teams into the locker room tied at 10-all.
Neither team was able to score in the third quarter, as it made for an exciting fourth quarter showdown.
It wouldn't take long for Cal Poly to get on the board as Zalud made a 22-yard field goal attempt to give the Mustangs a three-point lead three seconds into the quarter.
Trailing by three points, Marcus Alford came up big for NAU with a 96-yard kickoff return on the next play. It was the first kickoff returned for a touchdown this season for NAU. After the extra point was good by Wilder, the Lumberjacks earned their first lead of the game since late in the second quarter. The score was all NAU would need to hold on to the win.
Leading the charge on the offense was Cartwright who completed 16 passes for a total of 177 yards. Senior running back Zach Bauman rushed for 91 yards.
Hasquet led the NAU defense and finished with a career-high 12 tackles and his second career interception. Senior safety Lucky Dozier tallied 11 tackles, in addition to a fumble recovery in the first quarter.
NAU will return home to the Walkup Skydome on Saturday, Nov. 2 when it welcomes North Dakota. Kickoff for the Hall of Fame Game is set for 4:05 p.m.