Griz drop Big Sky Conference opener to host NAU Lumberjacks
Sept. 28, 2013
FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA - Northern Arizona University's Zach Bauman rushed for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns and the Lumberjacks returned two fumbles for scores, as they defeated the University of Montana Grizzlies 34-16 Saturday evening in NAU's Walkup Skydome.
It was the Big Sky Conference opener for the teams, as the Grizzlies (3-1/0-1) suffered their first defeat of the season, and the Jacks (3-1/1-0) registered their third victory in a row.
The Griz put themselves in a deep hole early in the third quarter, as cornerback Marcus Allen recovered a UM fumble and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown, giving NAU a 25-point, 28-3 lead with 13:59 left in that stanza.
After the Johnson-to-Saylor hook-up NAU kicker Andy Wilder connected on back-to-back field goals from 23 and 46 yards out, and his second three-pointer gave the Jacks a 34-10 advantage with 5:01 left in the contest.
The Grizzlies' final score came on a 9-yard pass from Johnson to freshman tight end Jordan Harper with 3:02 to go.
The Jacks took a commanding early first-quarter lead, as Bauman scored on back-to-back touchdowns on runs of 41 and 5 yards, his second TD run coming with 8:26 remaining in the opening stanza.
UM's only points in the first half came on a 42-yard field goal by freshman kicker Ben Worst with 5:20 left in the first quarter.
NAU tacked on another score on a 98-yard fumble return by linebacker Ryan Reardon with 2:03 left until halftime. That defensive score came after Griz quarterback Jordan Johnson tried to score on a 4th-and-3, but the ball was jarred loose and Reardon scooped in up and raced into the end zone for the score.
NAU led 21-3 at intermission. Bauman had 11 carries for 92 yards and his two scores in the first half.
Johnson was 17-of-38-0 for 292 yards and 2 TDs, but was sacked four times. Halfback Travon Van led UM with 45 yards rushing on eight carries.
Montana is home next Saturday, Oct. 5, hosting Portland State in its annual Homecoming game. NAU plays at11th-ranked Montana State next Saturday.
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