NAU announces 2013 football schedule
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona football team will host five home games, including Big Sky rival Montana as well as both South Dakota and North Dakota for the first time in program history, as part of its 2013 schedule, which was announced Saturday.
“The schedule will again be challenging from start to finish, with our goal set on a berth in the FCS playoffs in 2013,” said NAU coach Jerome Souers. “We had several great accomplishments in 2012 but finished last season unsatisfied.”
The Lumberjacks open the season with a pair of games on the road, starting with in-state rival Arizona on Aug. 30. The Wildcats are coming off an 8-5 season and a win in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. The game will be televised nationally by the Pac-12 Networks at a time to be announced. The game will feature potential Heisman Trophy candidate and returning All-American Ka’Deem Carey for UA against Payton Award finalist Zach Bauman for NAU in a matchup of two of the top running backs in each level of Division I football.
After a bye week, NAU will then travel to UC Davis on Sept. 14 to play the Aggies in a nonconference game.
South Dakota will visit the Walkup Skydome on Sept. 21. The Coyotes are led by former Montana coach Joe Glenn.
“We upgraded our nonconference schedule this year,” said Souers. “Playing games against Football Championship Subdivision teams UC Davis and South Dakota will not only help our team better prepare for the Big Sky season but offers our fans quality games against new FCS opponents.”
The game against Montana opens Big Sky Conference play and will kick off Family Weekend on Sept. 28. The Lumberjacks defeated the Griz on the road last season as part of a school-record-tying five road wins.
NAU travels to Montana State and Sacramento State in consecutive weeks Oct. 5 and 12. The Bobcats finished No. 5 in the country last season after reaching the FCS quarterfinals.
The Lumberjacks finish the regular season by hosting three of their final five games at home in the Walkup Skydome. NAU plays host to Idaho State on Oct. 19 for homecoming before taking on 2012 FCS playoff participant Cal Poly on the road on Oct. 26 for the first time since the Mustangs joined the conference in 2012.
North Dakota visits Flagstaff for the first time on Nov. 2. The Lumberjacks take their second bye week of the season on Nov. 9 before hosting Northern Colorado to close out the regular-season home slate on Nov. 16.
NAU travels to Cedar City, Utah, to play Southern Utah in the second meeting for the Hinton Burdick Grand Canyon Trophy to end the regular season on Nov. 23.
The Lumberjacks finished with an 8-3 overall record and a No. 20 national ranking in 2012. NAU posted several milestones during the season, including an eight-game winning streak for the first time since the 1958 season (11 games). NAU also beat an NCAA FBS opponent for the first time since 1987 with its 17-14 victory on Sept. 8 over UNLV and won at Montana on Sept. 22 for the first time since 1997.
“The strides we made as a program in 2012 are going to be the foundation of an exciting season of Lumberjack football,” said Souers. “Our fans are going to enjoy the team we put on the field this season.”
Games times and ticket information will be announced at a later date.
The Lumberjacks begin spring practice on March 26 with the first of 15 workouts. The annual spring game will be held on April 27 at 2:30 p.m.