OGDEN, Utah – Head Coach Jerome Souers became the Big Sky All-Time Winningest Coach this afternoon, leading Northern Arizona to a 33-20 win on the road at Weber State. The Lumberjacks jumped out to a 20-0 lead and surged on to axe the Wildcats at Stewart Stadium.
On becoming the winningest coach in Big Sky history, "It's humbling, but it's a reflection of the entire program," said Souers. "All the players, coaches and administrators who have come through here, it speaks to everyone. It speaks to the commitment to the program we've been and the one we're becoming."
NAU's offense kick started the Lumberjacks' momentum and the NAU defense jumped on board for the long haul making huge plays in the fourth quarter to hold the Wildcats and seal the victory.
"I'm very proud of the guys today," Souers said. "They kept battling back. Weber State kept coming back and we continued to answer. Weber State is an outstanding team and we have great respect for them, but today we out-executed them offensively, defensively and in the kicking game."
Blake Kemp and the NAU offense moved swiftly up the field on their first drive and after completing five straight passes, Kemp's sixth pass of the game found William Morehand for the eight-yard touchdown and a 7-0 Lumberjack lead.
Griffin Roehler increased NAU's lead to 10-0 when he connected on a 25-yard field goal with four minutes remaining in the first quarter.
The Lumberjacks continued to pile on the points when Kemp completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Kendyl Taylor down the left side, followed by a 36-yard made field goal by Roehler with 4:36 left in the second quarter.
The Wildcats were eager to score and with 57 seconds left in the half, Jadrian Clark found Cam Livingston for a 10-yard completion and a Weber State touchdown.
For the first time since 2011, NAU had a kicker make more than two field goals in a game. Roehler made a 36-yard attempt with 9:18 to go in the third quarter to bring NAU's lead to 23-7 against the Wildcats for his third one of the day.
Weber State struck for the second time this afternoon when Clark completed a 51-yard pass to Darryl Denby trimming NAU's lead to 23-14 with 6:48 on the clock in the third quarter.
The kicking genie came out to play today, as Roehler connected on a 28-yard field goal for his fourth made kick of the day.
Treshawn Garrett ran the ball in for a one-yard score late in the fourth quarter pulling the Wildcats to within six points, but 33 seconds later, Taylor ran the ball back 61 yards to the house.
If that wasn't enough, Keith Graham picked off Clark on the NAU36 and it was a wrap. The win improved NAU's record to 5-4, 4-2 in Big Sky play, while the Wildcats fell for the second straight outing dropping to 5-4, 4-2 in league play.
Kemp completed 24 of 41 passes for 357 yards and two thrown touchdowns. Emmanuel Butler had a team-high nine catches for 157 yards.
NAU will travel to North Dakota next week for its final Big Sky road game of the year. Kickoff versus the Fighting Hawks is set for 12 p.m. MST.
Notes: NAU captains Blake Kemp, Jake Thomas, Tyler Shank, Khalil Dorsey…Head coach Jerome Souers became the Big Sky All-Time Winningest Coach with career win No. 112 today, passing Chris Ault, formerly of Nevada…Kemp started the game 8-for-8 in the pocket with 99 passing yards…Butler registered his second 100-yard rushing game…Butler moved up to No. 6 on the NAU career receiving yards chart with 2,240 yards…Keith Graham recorded his first fumble recovery of the season (11:57 2nd Qtr) and his first interception (4th Qtr)…Roehler entered the game with a previous single-game high of two made field goals, he ended up with a new career high of four made field goals.