#24 Northern Arizona (0-2) vs. N.M. Highlands (0-2)
Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016 • 4 p.m.
Walkup Skydome, Flagstaff, Ariz.
TV: FOX Sports AZ (Delayed)
Radio: Flagstaff HITS 106.1 FM; Phoenix Money Radio 1510 AM & 99.3 FM; Prescott Area 97.9 FM Eagle Rocks; Window Rock/Ft. Defiance, Ariz. & Gallup, N.M. KHAC 880 AM
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Northern Arizona opens up home play this Saturday versus New Mexico Highlands. Kickoff versus the Cowboys is set for 4 p.m. at the Walkup Skydome. Fans should arrive early to watch the Running of the Freshmen.
• FOX Sports Arizona - Tape delay on Sept. 17 at 9:00 pm
• FOX College Sports Pacific - Tape delay on Sept. 17 at 9:00 pm
• Hall of Fame Game
• FUSD and Fit Kids Day
• Running of the Freshmen
• 7,000s T-Shirt Giveaway for Students
• Rally Towel Giveaway
Click Here to Purchase NAU Athletics Single Game Tickets
The Opening Drive
• Saturday marks the third straight year NAU and NMHU will play each other in the Jacks' home opener. NAU has won the last six meetings dating back to 1972, including the last year's 41-5 win.
• NAU has gone 14-2 in the Walkup Skydome in the last three seasons. The 'Jacks are 77-22-2 all-time in home openers. NAU has won its home opener dating all the way back to 1993.
• The Northern Arizona football team was voted No. 24 in both the FCS STATS and Coaches' polls released this week by both organizations. The Lumberjacks are ranked for the second week in a row. For the first time in school history, the Jacks were voted No. 1 in the Big Sky Preseason Polls by both the league coaches and media.
• The Lumberjacks host N.M. Highlands in their final non-conference game of the season. A victory on Saturday would give NAU momentum before it welcomes Top 25 Eastern Washington next week.
• The Lumberjacks faltered on the road at No. 18 Western Illinois, falling 34-20 last week. In two games, NAU has generated 850 yards of total offense, behind the quarterback play of sophomore Case Cookus. Top targets juniors Elijah Marks and Emmanuel Butler, have scored three of NAU's four touchdowns. The duo has combined for 460 receiving yards to help lead NAU's offensive front.
• Jason Murrietta honored as a part of the 2016 NAU Athletics Hall of Fame Class. He quarterbacked NAU to a Big Sky Championship crown and its first Division I playoff win in 2003 with an upset over No. 1 McNeese State. Murrietta was twice named the Big Sky Offensive Most Valuable Player (2003, 2006), and was a three-time All-Big Sky honoree. He earned 2006 All-American accolades from The Sports Network, The Associated Press, and The Football Gazette. At the end of his career, he held the NAU season record for touchdown passes (34), passing yards (3,472), and total offense (3,460). Murrietta finished second all-time in career passing yards (10,717) and total offense (10,584), and third in pass completions (878). He went on to compete for the Spokane Shock, Central Valley Coyotes, and the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League.
Scouting New Mexico Highlands
• New Mexico Highlands is 0-2 to start the 2016 campaign. The Cowboys opened the season with a 21-14 loss at Dixie State. NMHU then played Colorado Mines in its home opener, dropping the contest 54-14.
• Head Coach Jeff Mills is in his second year with the New Mexico Highlands football program.
• The Cowboys finished eighth in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in 2015. NMHU went 2-9 overall and 2-7 in conference play. Last season the Cowboys passed for an average of 176.6 yards per game and obtained an average of 140 rushing yards per game. In 2016, the Cowboys are averaging 194 passing yards and 95 rushing yards per game.
• Senior quarterback Cody Keith will lead NMHU. Keith earned a bachelor's degree in communications from East Carolina University in 2014. He is currently working on his Masters in Human Performance and Sports at NMHU.
• Senior running back Davonte Lynch returns after leading the team last season in rushing with 777 yards and three touchdowns. Lynch has only played in one game this season tallying 67 yards.