Lumberjacks hope to squash Hornets
NAU hits the road this weekend to play at Sacramento State on Saturday, Oct. 29. The Lumberjacks lead the all-time series 9–7 against the Hornets and hold a 4–3 lead in games played at Hornet Stadium, yet NAU’s last win in Sacramento came during the 2003 season.
Despite the series advantage, NAU has lost the last three meetings in Sacramento and has yet to win an away game this season. The Lumberjacks lost 27–24 in their last trip to the Golden State in 2009. Kicker Matt Myers, then a sophomore, missed a 55-yard field goal as time expired that would have tied the game.
“We know going on the road is going to be a tough road, we got to be at our best. But I really believe that our team is improving,” said NAU head coach Jerome Souers. “We improved from Montana State to Montana; we need to make another jump of improvement that will put ourselves in a better position to win.”
The last meeting between Sacramento State and NAU was a difficult one for the Lumberjacks. The Hornets converted three first-half turnovers into touchdowns and scored five consecutive possessions en route to a 40-10 victory at the Walkup Skydome.
“They are a good team,” Souers said. “They have demonstrated that they are a very competitive football team and they have given us problems the last couple of years.”
The Lumberjacks are riding a three-game skid as they enter the match-up. The meetings against Eastern Washington, Montana State and Montana have shown the team what areas need to be improved.
“We’re putting that loss in the past and looking ahead, like we have been doing. I think we can do some stuff against Sac State that will allow us to get a ‘W’,” said junior quarterback Cary Grossart. “We are preparing well and we feel good, we’ve got nothing to lose so let’s go out and play some football.”
The Lumberjacks are not the only ones is pursuit of a victory this weekend. Sacramento State hopes to put last week’s overtime loss behind itself. The Hornets dropped to 3–4 overall and 2–3 in the Big Sky Conference following a 42—35 overtime loss to Eastern Washington. The Hornets built a 28—13 lead after three quarters but were outscored 22—7 in the fourth and 7—0 in overtime to suffer just their second home loss in the last two seasons.
In the past three weeks the Lumberjacks have been plagued by turnovers, penalties, interceptions, fumbles and missed opportunities. As the Jacks prepare to travel to Sacramento they work at eradicating these errors in order to gain a victory against the Hornets.
“The biggest challenge will be ourselves,” said sophomore running back Zach Bauman. “The past couple of weeks we have been beating ourselves, so just overcoming ourselves this week will be the biggest challenge.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. and the game can be heard on the Lumberjack Radio Network on 105.1 FM The Big Talker and online on the Big Talker website and via their mobile application.