Opponent: University of Arizona
Date/Time: Friday, August 30, 2013/7 p.m.
Location: Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: KBTK 105.1 FM
Audio Stream: www.BigTalkerRadio.com
Television: Pac-12 Network
(Dish Ch. 413; Suddenlink Ch. 22, 222, 531, 581)
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – For the second time in three years, the Northern Arizona football team will open its season up on the road at the University of Arizona. The 18th-ranked Lumberjacks are led by head coach Jerome Souers, who begins his 16th season at the helm of the program.
Kickoff at the newly renovated Arizona Stadium is slated for 7 p.m. with the game being televised nationally on the Pac-12 Network. The game will also be broadcasted on www.BigTalkerRadio.com
Northern Arizona finished 2012 with an 8-3 overall record and saw its playoff hopes slip away after losing the final two games of the season. The Lumberjacks finished fourth in the league despite recording an eight-game win streak.
On the upside, Northern Arizona returns 18 starters in 2013. Leading the way on offense is senior running back and Walter Payton Watch List honoree Zach Bauman. All eyes will be on Bauman as he is 119 yards shy of breaking the Lumberjack career rushing record. Bauman enters the season as the only Lumberjack player in school history to rush for 1,000-plus yards in three consecutive seasons.
The Lumberjacks will see a new face at quarterback as sophomore Kyren Poe has earned the start for NAU. Poe led the way for Northern Arizona in the spring game and battled all through camp to earn the starting role.
On defense, Northern Arizona has a pair of preseason All-Americans – Anders Battle and Lucky Dozier – who will man the secondary unit. At the line, senior preseason all-conference pick Tim Wilkinson will lead the defense.
Senior punter/kicker Andy Wilder has earned a plethora of preseason honors as he returns as the veteran of the kicking unit. Wilder led the nation in yards per punt with a 46.3 average, and had a total of 25 punts go for 50 yards or longer. He also connected on 38-of-39 PATs for a total of 68 points to lead the Lumberjacks in scoring.
Arizona has a trio of options at the quarterback position – returner B.J. Denker, transfer Jesse Scroggins and redshirt freshman Javelle Allen – all of whom can suit up against the Lumberjacks. Running back Ka'Deem Carey led the nation in both rushing yards (1,929) and yards per game (148.38) last season, as he will lead the running game for the Wildcats.
The last time Northern Arizona and Arizona played each other was on Sept. 3, 2011 when the Wildcats defeated the Lumberjacks 41-10. At the end of the game it was NAU's Bauman that edged UA's Carey on the box score. Bauman finished with 99 yards to Carey's 59-yard performance.