Updated: Defense steps up big in 21-10 NAU win over UC Davis
BY VINCENT PENA —
The Northern Arizona University (NAU) Lumberjacks pulled away late for a tough win against the University of California-Davis on Sept. 14, by a score of 21–10 after two fourth-quarter interceptions by the Lumberjacks were returned for touchdowns.
The Lumberjacks got their first win of the season, in spite of gaining less than 200 yards of total offense, only tallying 191 yards on 61 total plays. NAU is now 1–1 on the season after their opening loss to Arizona on Aug. 30.
“I was really excited about our defense; [they] came up huge and made some huge plays,” said head coach Jerome Souers. “We got excellent pass rushing, coverage and big plays. Real proud of the fact that our kids found a way to win today.”
Trailing 10–7 about five minutes into the fourth quarter, senior strong safety Lucky Dozier was able to intercept UC-Davis quarterback Jimmy Laughrea on the 22-yard line and return it 78 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.
Then on a late fourth-quarter Aggie drive, Laughrea was picked off for the second time by sophomore cornerback Marcus Alford, who returned it for 47 yards and the score, giving the Lumberjacks the 21–10 lead with 1:56 left in the game.
Senior running back Zach Bauman broke the all-time NAU rushing record, previously held by Marcus King after rushing for 56 yards on 18 carries. He first broke the record on the last play of the first half, but quickly lost it on a three-yard loss on his next rush attempt. He then was able to get it again on an 11-yard rush and held onto it for good.
“It really means a lot. It honestly hasn’t really set in, I haven’t really realized it but I mean just to think about it means a lot to me,” Bauman said. “All the work I put in over these last four years is really starting to show.”
Souers expressed the significance of such a milestone and how he feels about his start running back.
“I’m very proud of Zach Bauman and his contributions to our program on and off the field,” Souers said. “That he was able to pass that record this early in his senior year speaks for how well he’s done.”
Both defenses were able to keep the opposing offense at bay, but NAU was able to capitalize on the only turnovers of the game, which was clearly the difference in the game. Bauman was glad the defense was able to make up for the offensive struggles.