NAU heads to Southern Utah looking to firm up playoff spot

November 22, 2013

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The Northern Arizona Lumberjacks conclude their regular season and attempt to cement a spot in the Football Championship Series playoffs when they travel to Cedar City, Utah, to battle the Southern Utah Thunderbirds at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Both teams have postseason aspirations. NAU (8-2, 6-1 Big Sky) is ranked No. 10 in the latest FCS poll by The Sports Network, while Southern Utah (8-3, 5-2) is ranked No. 20. NAU has a five-game winning streak, while the Thunderbirds have won three in a row after upsetting 13th-ranked Montana State 22-14 on the road last week.

Montana State is the only FCS team to beat NAU, 36-7 back on Oct. 5.

The Thunderbirds have won the last two meetings between the teams, including a 35-29 triple-overtime thriller in Flagstaff last year that snapped an eight-game NAU winnign streak, but the Lumberjacks lead the all-time series 11-5.

Southern Utah ranks first in the Big Sky in scoring defense (19.7 points per game) and total defense (342.6 yards per game).  James Cowser has 9.5 sacks.

Senior running back Zach Bauman leads the NAU offense with 1,262 yards, his fourth consecutive 1,000-yard season. Kyren Poe (1,287 passing yards) and Chase Cartwright (721 passing yards) have split time at quarterbacks.

Southern Utah quarterback Aaron Cantu has passed for 1,654 yards, and Raysean Martin leads the rushing attack with 437 yards.