Lumberjacks sting Hornets in one-point victory
The Lumberjacks football team overcame the Sacramento State Hornets 27–26 at Hornet Stadium for the first time since 2003 on Oct. 29. This win gave NAU their first victory since a 20–3 win over Idaho State on Sept. 24.
For NAU quarterback Cary Grossart, the win was even more special. Grossart grew up and went to high school near Sacramento and was excited to have family and friends at the game.
“To leave my hometown with a win is great,” Grossart said, “It feels really good to win and it’s just really exciting to me and the rest of my teammates.”
The Jacks got off to a rough start when Grossart’s first pass of the contest was intercepted by Sac State’s Kyle Monson, who ran it back for the first touchdown of the game. NAU’s next possession, hindered by two false starts, ended in a shanked punt. The Lumberjacks turned the game around when sophomore corner back Anders Battle forced a fumble and junior safety Taylor Malenfant recovered it. Sophomore running back Zach Bauman scored NAU’s first touchdown of the game with a 44-yard run.
Sac State started the second quarter with a touchdown pass from Garrett Safron to Sam McCowan to put the Hornets up. The Jacks pushed the ball up the field in 11 plays behind the legs of Bauman, setting up senior kicker Matt Myers for a 28-yard field goal. NAU scored in their next possession with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Grossart to senior wide receiver Khalil Paden.
Grossart knows how much Bauman contributed to the win.
“Zach just shows up and comes up big,” Grossart said, “It’s so great to just be able to hand the ball off to him and know he can get the yards. We rode him to the victory, we really did. He did a great job and I’m really proud of him.”
“The Bauman Show,” one Sac State announcer called the game after Bauman ran for career high 246 yards. This was the Phoenix native’s second 200-yard game of the season and his 10th 100-yard game of the season. Those 246 yards helped Bauman surpass the 2,000-yard career mark in two years, settling into the seventh spot on NAU’s career rushing chart. Bauman had several outstanding plays, including a 53-yard breakaway sprint to put the Lumberjacks into scoring position, setting-up the game winning touchdown to put the Lumberjacks up 26–20 in the fourth quarter.
“It was all about trusting my O-Line and taking the holes when I saw them,” Bauman said, “I’ll be sore tomorrow, but we got the win, so I’m feeling great.”
The special teams played a huge role in the Lumberjacks’ win. Senior defensive linemen Blayne Anderson and Dan Pela blocked two extra point attempts, making the difference in the one point game.
“The blocked kicks were huge for us,” said head coach Jerome Souers.
Next week the Lumberjacks will face another Big Sky opponent when they play the Northern Colorado Bears at home this Saturday.