FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona football program scored fast and often as it competed for a Big Sky Conference Championship and Football Championship Playoff bid in 2015. The Lumberjacks were in contention all the way to the final regular season game as it produced the National FCS Freshman of the Year. NAU is back and prepared this season, as it announced its 2016 slate.
"There's no question that the 2016 schedule is going to challenge our team in many ways, but that's what we want here at NAU," said head coach Jerome Souers. "We talk to our team all the time about wanting to compete and play the best, I think when people look at this schedule they'll see that. Once again we have five home games and six away games, which will push our team to show their mental toughness in going on the road."
The Lumberjacks will have a trio of non-conference games. For the first time since the 2012 season, NAU will head down I-17 to Tempe to take on Arizona State on Sept.3. The Sun Devils earned a bid to the Football Bowl Subdivision Cactus Bowl this past season, where they fell by one point to West Virginia. The next game for the Lumberjacks will be a road game at FCS playoff second round participant Western Illinois on Sept. 10. NAU's home opener and final non-conference game will be against New Mexico Highlands on Sept. 17. The Lumberjacks defeated the Cowboys 41-5 in last season's home opener.
"Starting the year with a PAC-12 opponent in ASU will be a fun game for the state of Arizona," said Souers. "We have a lot respect for that program. For the second season in a row we travel to an FCS playoff team for non-conference, this year being a trip to Western Illinois. We know every year the competition in the Big Sky is as good as any conference in the country, and we don't expect that to be any different in 2016."
NAU's 11-game schedule continues when it opens Big Sky play at home on Sept. 24 versus Eastern Washington on Family Weekend. Other home games for the Lumberjacks include Idaho State (Oct. 15) on Homecoming, Montana (Oct. 22) the following week, and Southern Utah (Nov. 19) on Senior Day.
The Lumberjacks will have to travel to Big Sky foes Northern Colorado (Oct. 1), Montana State (Oct. 8), Weber State (Nov. 5), and North Dakota (Nov. 12).
NAU will not play Portland State and Cal Poly for the second year in a row. The Lumberjacks will also have a year off from games versus Sacramento State and UC Davis.
Two out of the past three years NAU has gone undefeated at home during the regular season. Over that span, NAU holds a 14-1 regular season record in the Walkup Skydome.
"Last year going undefeated at the Skydome was huge and it shows our true home field advantage here in Flagstaff because of the great support we have," Souers said. "Our players and staff look forward to this tremendous challenge ahead of us in 2016!"
Fans interested in season tickets for 2016 can contact the Season Ticket Office at 928-523-0639. Game times for the season will be announced at a later date. The Lumberjacks' annual spring game is set for April 23.
2016 NAU Football Schedule
Sept. 3 at Arizona State
Sept. 10 at Western Illinois
Sept. 17 vs. New Mexico Highlands
Sept. 24 vs. Eastern Washington (Family Weekend)
Oct. 1 at Northern Colorado
Oct. 8 at Montana State
Oct. 15 vs. Idaho State (Homecoming)
Oct. 22 vs. Montana
Oct. 29 BYE
Nov. 5 at Weber State
Nov. 12 at North Dakota
Nov. 19 vs. Southern Utah