Northern Arizona runs over UND
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — It was an absolutely gorgeous day Saturday in the San Francisco Peaks, the mountains that serve as a scenic backdrop for the Northern Arizona campus.
Northern Arizona’s performance wasn’t gorgeous against the University of North Dakota. The Lumberjacks didn’t have to be pretty or flashy, considering the way the season is unfolding for UND.
Instead, Northern Arizona methodically rolled past UND 48-27 before 4,895 fans at the Walkup Skydome, a win that kept the Lumberjacks’ Big Sky Conference title hopes alive.
UND dropped its fourth-straight game as North Dakota dropped to 1-5 in the Sky and 2-7 overall. Outside of an impressive passing day between quarterback Ryan Bartels and Kenny Golladay, UND’s performance typified that of a team desperately struggling to find ways to win.
“I don’t even know what to say,” said UND coach Chris Mussman. “The focus for us is that our guys continue to play hard. I saw that tonight.”
But as has been the case throughout the season, UND just couldn’t catch a break.
NAU’s biggest break came on the last play of the first half. The Lumberjacks lined up for a 19-yard field goal attempt. Instead, holder Jordan Perry — a backup quarterback — took off the end zone and scored, giving NAU a 28-14 halftime lead.
The play was significant because UND — for the first time in a month — had shown signs of offensive life behind Bartels and Golladay, who set a single-game UND receiving record with 17 catches. He also had all four UND touchdowns.
In the third quarter, however, UND stumbled on a few offensive possessions as NAU — behind the rushing of Zach Bauman (162 rushing yards) — had to settle for two field goals.
“Good call by NAU,” said Mussman of the score on the fake field goal. “In the third quarter, we just couldn’t generate that one score. Our defense was playing pretty well then, too. We just couldn’t get it to one score in the third quarter to make them stress a little bit.”
Bauman and the Lumberjacks opened a 14-0 lead before Bartels - taking over for Joe Mollberg - ignited UND’s offense.
“Ryan gave us a spark right away,” said Mussman. “He started completing passes; we picked up first downs; you could see more confidence on offense.”
But UND just couldn’t generate enough offense against the Lumberjacks, who improved to 5-1 and 7-2.
“We battled our heads off,” said Bartels. “Obviously, we want to win games. But we’re playing good teams. We’re (still) new in the Big Sky.”
Two Andy Wilder field goals in the third quarter (32, 35 yards) put the game out of reach. The first field goal came as the Lumberjacks drove 60 yards on their first possession of the third quarter. The second was set up by Lucky Dozier’s 59-yard punt return.
After the second field goal gave NAU a 34-14 lead, Bartels threw an interception, effectively ending any remote UND chances.
But UND kept slinging the ball in the final two quarters, with Bartels and Golladay continually moving the chains. UND finished with 421 yards, all but 50 through the air.
UND has two games remaining, next week at home against Northern Colorado and on Nov. 16 at UC Davis. Depending on those outcomes, UND could finish with its worst record since the mid-1980s.
“We just need to play these next two games for the guys in our locker room,” said UND safety Will Lewis.
UND 0 14 0 13 — 27
NAU 7 21 6 14 — 48
NAU–Alex Holmes 12 pass from Chase Cartwright (Andy Wilder kick), 9:19
NAU–Kyren Poe 2 run (Wilder kick), 12:18
UND–Kenny Golladay 28 pass from Ryan Bartels (Zeb Miller kick), 8:14
NAU–Zach Bauman 14 run (Wilder kick), 3:27
UND–Golladay 22 pass from Bartels (Miller kick), :54
NAU–Jordan Perry 2 run (Wilder kick), :00
NAU–Wilder 32 FG, 9:31
NAU–Wilder 35 FG, 5:42
NAU–Alex Holmes 3 pass from Kyren Poe (Wilder kick), 10:57
UND–Golladay 10 pass from Bartels (Miller kick blocked), 4:29
NAU–Casey Jahn 44 run (Wilder), 4:18
UND–Golladay 3 pass from Bartels (Miller kick), 2:03
TEAM STATISTICS UND NAU
First downs 27 26
Rushes-yards 15-50 43-275
Passing yards 371 479
Comp.-Att.-Int. 40-62-2 20-33-0
Total yards 421 479
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 10-86 11-125
Punts-Avg. 4-47.3 3-44.3
RUSHING: UND, Adam Shaugabay 3-17, Ryan Bartels 5-14, Jer Garman 2-8, Blair Townsend 1-5, Joe Mollberg 1-2, Greg Hardin 2-2, Jake Miller 1-2. NAU, Zach Bauman 19-162, Casey Jahn 13-106, Kyren Poe 4-24, Jordan Perry 1-2, Chase Cartwright 5-(minus 18).
PASSING: UND, Bartels 39-59-2, 367; Mollberg 1-3-0, 4. NAU, Kyren Poe 12-20-0, 119; Cartwright 8-13-0, 85.
RECEIVING: UND, Kenny Golladay 17-134, Greg Hardin 8-118, Blair Townsend 4-48, Shaugabay 4-36, Casey Young 1-16, Dustin Iverson 1-8, Aeron Carr 1-5, Garman 1-4, Dwayne Pecosky 1-1, Romon Bridges 2-1. NAU, Dejzon Walker 3-57, Alex Holmes 5-36, R.J. Rickert 3-31, Jahn 2-26, Nick Cole 2-22, Bauman 3-18, Patrick Baldenegro 1-10, Nick Butier 1-9, Jesse Brantley 1-5.