Bashore’s Beat: Lumberjack offense needs rebound performance

 

By Cody Bashore

After a close call on the road against Northern Colorado, the No. 12 ranked Lumberjacks (7-1, 5-0 Big Sky) venture out of Flagstaff for the final time in the regular season when they take on Big Sky bottom dwellers, the Idaho State Bengals(1-7, 0-5 Big Sky).

Now the final undefeated school in the conference, Northern Arizona University (NAU) should cruise to an eighth-straight victory on Saturday against Idaho State and maintain hold on the conference for another week.

While the Lumberjacks have enjoyed immense success, the Bengals have yet to win a game against an FCS program this season. Currently Idaho State ranks as the worst team in the FCS defensively, allowing 54 points and 561 yards per game.

With the struggles Lumberjack offense has endured the past few weeks, the porous Bengal defense should allow for some improvement. Through five conference games, Idaho State has allowed at least 52 points in each contest and even gave up 70 twice during the stretch.

Additionally, the Bengals give up an FCS worst: 339 yards on the ground. The Lumberjack rush offense should have no problem moving the ball with junior running back Zach Bauman, who struggled this past week against Northern Colorado.

On the opposite side of the ball, the top conference ranked pass defense of NAU will face off with the top pass yardage offense in the conference. While the Bengal pass offense ranks first in Big Sky in yardage, the team’s pass efficiency ranks tied with NAU for 9th in the conference.

Part of Idaho State’s success through the air comes as a result of playing from behind, as they have trailed at halftime in every loss this season. A product of playing from behind in blowouts, the Bengals offense has been able to pile up yards against schools’ second string defenses throughout the season.

The Lumberjacks should have no trouble against one of the worst programs in the FCS on Saturday. After a few close calls during the past weeks, a blowout of the Bengals will help as the Lumberjacks head into their final two games at home. Getting the offense on track before the stretch run is essential to the team’s confidence after a poor showing against Northern Colorado.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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