Lumberjack offense rebounds against Idaho State, remains atop Big Sky

 

By Cody Bashore

After failing to score an offensive touchdown against Northern Colorado the week prior, the No. 12 Lumberjacks broke through for five offensive scores against the worst defense in the Football Championship Subdivison and pushed their winning streak to eight games.

Northern Arizona University (NAU) (8-1, 6-0 Big Sky) cruised past the Big Sky’s bottom dweller, the Idaho State Bengals (1–8, 0–6, Big Sky), with a 50–10 victory highlighted by its pair of backup running backs.

“Our defense was steady for all four quarters. Offensively, we really had trouble getting going in the first half,” said head coach Jerome Souers. “We showed some signs in the second quarter and I’m glad we finished strongly the way we did.

The Bengals could not step up against a recently struggling Lumberjack offense and allowed 356 yards on the ground. ISU entered the game giving up 339 yards per game, the worst-ranked rush defense in the league and had also given up at least 52 points in every conference game this season.

Leading rusher junior Zach Bauman totaled 17 carries for 79 yards and added 21 yards on three catches. Despite Bauman’s average day on the ground, NAU rushed for the most yards as a team since Nov. 10, 2010 against Portland State.

“Zach kind of opened it up; he got the harder yardage,” said sophomore receiver Dejzon Walker. “Once we got Idaho State’s defense to lay down, that’s room for Covaughn and Casey to come in and they did exceptionally well.”

Senior Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson rushed for 151 yards on just eight carries, two of which went for touchdowns. DeBoskie-Johnson rattled off a 34-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter and then added a 62-yarder in the fourth.

Freshman Casey Jahn chipped in another 144 yards on his 10 carries, including a touchdown run of 66 yards for the final score of the game.

“It’s nice to see Covaughn out there getting the reps the way that he did and Casey as well. That speaks to the offensive line and the blocking that’s going on in the front,” Souers said.

Midway through the second, the Lumberjacks finally ended a streak of six consecutive quarters without an offensive touchdown, when senior quarterback Cary Grossart hit sophomore receiver Dejzon Walker for an 11-yard score.

“We started off a little bit shaky, had to make some adjustments to get everything rolling,” Walker said. “But once we did, you see the outcome.”

The touchdown triggered a 38-3 run for the remainder of the game, putting the Lumberjacks firmly in control as the Bengal pass offense only managed 287 yards for the game. ISU had averaged 367 yards per game coming into the contest, which ranked fifth in the nation.

“All we had to do was stay disciplined, keep our eyes on our man and read the quarterbacks eyes when we were playing zone coverage,” said junior safety Lucky Dozier. “It took us in the direction to make plays.”

Running the ball proved to be useless for the Bengals as well, rushing for only 39 yards on the ground. The 39 yards topped the previous week’s 42 conceded to Northern Colorado.

“Our defense as a whole played really well, our pass rush was good. Andy [Thompson, defensive coordinator] kept a good mix of coverage and blitz that I thought kept them off balance,” Souers said. “Being able to take on a passing game like that and to hold them to 10 points was an accomplishment.”

With the win, the Lumberjacks remain the lone undefeated team in the conference. With two games remaining, a win against Southern Utah University next week at the Walkup Skydome would clinch a share of the Big Sky Conference Championship, but would not guarantee a playoff spot.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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