Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Lack of depth dooms Lumberjacks' upset bid

Typically, when an FCS team strolls into a BCS stadium, the school is more than happy to settle for any sort of moral victory.

Not Northern Arizona. And not redshirt senior quarterback Michael Herrick.

“We played with them, they’re a good team and they beat us today, but we were right there,” Herrick said. “You can ask them, and if they say we weren’t flying around with them, they are lying to you.”

State Press Television

The Lumberjacks (1-1), who entered the game ranked No. 24 in the FCS, trailed ASU (2-0) by just seven points entering the fourth quarter, but failed to earn the upset, falling short, 41-20.

State Press Television By

“We were in it the whole game,” senior linebacker Reid Worthington said. “The score doesn't always reflect that. People are going to see the score and make their own judgments on that, but we’re a solid team; we’re a fast team, we score, and we can hold people on fourth downs, and we showed that tonight.”

Entering a game in which the school had nothing to lose, NAU prepared for an uphill battle.

“I'm proud of the way our guys came out and played,” NAU coach Jerome Souers said. “We had a good plan, and we knew our offense matching up [with] their defense was going to be really tough to be productive today. We had to work hard to manufacture first downs, let alone get touchdowns.

“We really needed our defense and special teams to play big, and I thought that when they did, we had the right mix that kept us in the game.”

In the early goings of Saturday, the Lumberjacks jumped out to a 3-0 lead after forcing ASU to punt from deep in its own territory.

“Their defense is so good, we just tried to penalize them for their pursuit,” Souers said. “They're so fast to the ball, we tried to do something to draw them away and then go back.

“We tried to set up a nice little trick play, but again, it only got us a couple of first downs. It wasn't enough to change the game or anything.”

At halftime, NAU trailed by a touchdown after suffocating a Sun Devil running attack that rushed for 242 yards and five touchdowns against fellow Big Sky opponent Portland State just a week ago.

“We were stout against the run all day,” Souers said. “We didn't want to be outflanked. We had to do a lot of team tackling. I think we got in trouble a couple of times though when we were in blitz. We had one-on-one [coverage] out there, and that hurt us a time or two.”

By game’s end, ASU had racked up 450 yards of total offense, only 56 of which came on the ground.

NAU, after closing the gap again to seven late in the third quarter on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Herrick to junior wide receiver Khalil Paden, was outscored 14-0 from thereon out.

“It’s ASU, they have more depth, they have 20 more scholarships,” Worthington said. “So they’ve got fresher guys in there all the time. We had to deal with adversity and play good football today but when it comes down to it, it’s depth.”

Reach the reporter at

Continue supporting student journalism and donate to The State Press today.

Subscribe to Pressing Matters



This website uses cookies to make your experience better and easier. By using this website you consent to our use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie Policy.