NAU moves into top 10; Hale earns CFPA honor

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The Northern Arizona football team improved in the national polls after a 24-7 defeat over Northern Colorado at home. The Lumberjacks moved up two spots to No. 10 in The Sports Network poll. The FCS Coaches Poll has NAU slated 12th, one position up from last week. The College Sports Madness poll moved the Lumberjacks up one spot to eighth.

There was also recognition for the Lumberjacks individually, as junior

defensive back Randy Hale Jr. was named the College Football

Performance Awards National Defensive Back of the Week.

The native of Buckeye, Ariz., who was making his first start of the

season, recorded both of NAU’s interceptions against Northern Colorado

and scored a touchdown. His first big play came in the second quarter,

when he intercepted quarterback Seth Lobato’s pass and returned it

for a 46-yard touchdown. His second interception came with 3:24

to go in the game and sealed the win for NAU.

NAU is one of five Big Sky teams ranked in the Top 25. Eastern Washington is No. 3, Montana No. 5, NAU No. 10, Montana State No. 13 and Southern Utah No. 20.

The 24-team FCS playoff field will be announced on Nov. 24. The Lumberjacks’ win this past Saturday completed a 5-0 sweep of opponents at home this season.

NAU (8-2) will play its final regular season game on the road at Southern Utah (8-3) this Saturday. The Thunderbirds moved into the rankings for the first time since Oct. 3, 2011.

The Lumberjacks are second in the conference standings at 6-1, trailing only Eastern Washington (7-0). Southern Utah is tied for third at 5-2.