Bashore’s Beat: Bauman fresh for Montana
By Cody Bashore
With the score 27-0 after just one quarter against Fort Lewis College, Northern Arizona University (NAU) smartly decided to pull junior running back Zach Bauman for the remainder of the game. Bauman had tallied 136 yards on a mere five carries, including a pair of touchdown runs that went for 75 and 26 yards. The game was the 15th 100-yard rushing game of Bauman’s Lumberjack career, but was a first for him in another way.
“Usually I wake up on Sunday a little sore,” Bauman said. “This is the first time in college I woke up not pretty much limping and sore. Going into this week’s game I’ll have my legs under me a lot more.”
Heading into Saturday’s matchup against the No. 11 Montana Grizzlies, Bauman’s fresh legs should be joined in NAU’s backfield by senior quarterback Cary Grossart. Following the Fort Lewis game, head coach Jerome Souers said he expected Grossart would be back this week.
“We always stress the next man up and if he goes down somebody’s got to step in,” Bauman said. “But [Grossart], that’s our guy and this is his team.”
The Lumberjacks have stressed depth as being a strength of the team all year, but Bauman said their most experienced quarterback returning for the matchup against the Big Sky Conference’s elite is comforting.
“He leads by example every day. Just to have him controlling the team, it’s a more comfortable feeling,” Bauman said. “He’s a little more composed going to a big stadium like that.”
As for the team’s mindset headed into Montana, Bauman said the team knows where this game compares to the others in terms of importance.
“To play ASU and play UNLV, beat UNLV, those were an honor,” Bauman said. “But we honestly know that those games really don’t mean anything towards our season and towards us making it to the playoffs. No game is bigger than any other game, but we have to be honest and real with ourselves. First Big Sky game, so we are going out there to try and do what we do.”