Cookus leads Lumberjacks past Cal Poly for first win

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Case Cookus threw for 406 yards and four touchdowns to lead Northern Arizona to a 28-10 win over Cal Poly in the Big Sky Conference opener for both teams Saturday night.

Elijah Marks hauled in two of the touchdown passes, a 12-yarder for the game’s first score and a 7-yard grab in the third quarter, and finished with a career-high 206 yards on 14 receptions. Jonathan Baldwin snagged a 16-yard TD throw and Matthew Kempton had a 2-yard scoring catch.

“For any team, having a big player out is unfortunate,” Marks said. “He’s a big loss for us but our coaches always teach us the next man up mentality. We would love to have him but he’s down so it’s next man up.”

Northern Arizona (1-2) was held to just 61 yards rushing but dominated the passing game as Cookus went 35 of 46 with no interceptions.

Cal Poly got a 29-yard field goal in the first quarter and then was held scoreless until the final minute of the game when Khaleel Jenkins found J.J. Koski for a 60-yard touchdown pass to set the final score.

“We really wanted to come out fast and set the tempo for the game,” NAU coach Jerome Souers said. “Cal Poly is a good team, they’re really disruptive and they make things difficult with their option attack and their defense schematics but I thought our guys battled through some things.

“Our defense was disruptive, created some turnovers and some short field scenarios, and our offense capitalized. At the end of the day, we did what we needed to do to get a really tough win against a quality opponent in Cal Poly.”