Football Wins Home Opener, Defeats South Dakota 22-16
"Great win tonight," said head coach Jerome Souers. "I'm happy for Zach, happy for the offensive guys for making improvements and proud of [coach] Andy Thompson and our defense tonight."
The Lumberjack defense was solid tonight as they held South Dakota to zero first downs in the first half. NAU went on to record three sacks for a total of 11 yards, in addition to the 49-yard interception return by Battle with 2:52 to go in the first quarter for the first score of the game.
The play by Battle seemed to energize the Lumberjacks on both sides of the ball as NAU took a 13-0 lead into halftime after a three-yard touchdown run by Bauman late in the second.
"I think we had a great game plan, we knew what kind of players they had and the offensive line was tremendous today," said Bauman. "I think our offense really hit our stride."
"It was definitely an electric atmosphere," said Poe. "You love playing in front of your home crowd and with your teammates; it's a great feeling. We finally got in a groove and started to move the ball down the field which is good for the offense and the defense."
South Dakota attempted to stage a comeback in the fourth quarter as it recorded 16 points off a 24-yard field goal (Miles Bergner), two-yard run (Josh Vander Maten) and six-yard pass (Nick Meyer).
The Lumberjacks scored in all four quarters as Ryan Hawkins connected on a 32-yard field goal at the 10:17 mark in the fourth.
The win gave NAU its first win at home for the 2013 season and snapped a two-game losing streak at the Walkup Skydome that dated back to last year.
Poe completed 17-of-32 passes for a total of 154 yards and one touchdown. Bauman recorded his first 100-yard game of the season and 19th overall. He finished with 186 all-purpose yards. Lucky Dozier, Steven Garcia and Austin Hasquet led the NAU defense with eight tackles apiece.
The Lumberjacks rushed for 189 yards on 37 attempts. The Coyotes were held to 84 yards on 34 attempts. NAU edged South Dakota in total offensive yards 343-284.
NAU will continue home play next week when it hosts Montana for Family Weekend on Saturday Sept. 28. The game will be televised by ROOT Sports. Kick-off is slated for 6 p.m.