NAU heads to Montana State in search of first Big Sky win

BY foxsports • October 7, 2016

Northern Arizona's hopes to remain relevant in the Big Sky Conference race could hinge on Saturday's game with Montana State in Bozeman, Mont.

Both teams are off to 0-2 starts in conference play. NAU is 1-4 overall, while Montana State is 2-3.

Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.

The Lumberjacks are winless in three road games this year following last week's 21-18 loss at Northern Colorado.

Sophomore quarterback Case Cookus remains out with a shoulder injury. Senior Blake Kemp gets his second start in place of Cookus after completing 35 of 46 passes for 273 yards and one touchdown last week.

The offense has gotten a boost from freshman running back Joe Logan. He had 98 yards on 11 carries against Northern Colorado and has 270 yards on the season.

Linebackers Jake Casteel (36 tackles) and Jake Thomas (28) and safety Keith Graham (28) have been the defensive leaders.

Montana State, under first-year coach Jeff Choate, was unable to hold a 38-21 lead last week and suffered a 41-38 loss at Sacramento State. The Bobcats' two wins came against Bryan (27-24) and Western Oregon (55-0).

The Bobcats lead the FCS with 16 takeaways through five games -- nine interceptions and seven fumbles -- and are limiting opponents to 20.4 points per game.

Freshman quarterback Chris Murray starts at quarterback for Montana State. He rushed for 187 yards and three touchdowns against Sacramento State.

The Lumberjacks won last year's meeting 49-41 in Flagstaff, as Cookus threw four touchdown passes. Montana State defeated NAU 36-7 in Bozeman two years ago, but the Lumberjacks lead the all-time series 25-23.