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NAU vs. Arizona: First look at the Lumberjacks

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Time for the first in-state game of the 2015 season

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The Arizona Wildcats are now just one game away from getting that 3-0 non-conference record that everyone has been expecting ever since these games were scheduled.

The last road block is the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks, who will make the trek down to Tucson as a 2-0 team as well, having defeated Stephen F. Austin in a battle of the Lumberjacks, and New Mexico Highlands on Saturday afternoon in Flagstaff.

That SFA game was on the road, and NAU came out on top by a score of 34-28. It's tough to know how good that win was, since Stephen F. Austin went out and got beat by 63 points by TCU this week.

NAU was able to have a pretty balanced attack in that game, racking up 303 passing yards and 244 rushing yards. This week was a bit different, as the Lumberjacks threw for 360 yards against NM Highlands, and only rushed for 58.

Head coach Jerome Souers is entering his 18th season in Flagstaff, and is one of just two coaches to record over 100 wins in the Big Sky. He's the longest-tenured coach in the history of NAU football.

You may remember Kyren Poe from two years ago, as he was the NAU starting quarterback then. He's still in Flagstaff, but Case Cookus is the new man behind center. Cookus is a freshman out of Thousand Oaks, CA, and is a pretty big guy, standing at 6-4, 200 pounds. In two games, he's completed over 70 percent of his passes (30-42) for 563 yards and five touchdowns. He also has 50 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.

There are two primary targets for Cookus, and those are Emmanuel Butler and Alex Holmes. Butler already has four(!) receiving touchdowns this year, nine total catches, and 270 yards. Holmes has eight catches for 149 yards.

On defense, their stats are fairly spread out, but expect to see Zach McDonnell possibly put some pressure on Anu Solomon. McDonnell leads the Jacks with three tackles for loss and two sacks. NAU as a team has eight sacks so far this year. Arizona has one.

In the secondary, Marcus Alford has the lone interception, but seven different guys have pass breakups.

I'm not saying NAU is going to come to Tucson and pull the upset (Arizona leads the all-time series 12-1, and the lone loss came in 1932), but the Pac-12 has had its fair share of problems with the Big Sky this year. Don't get caught looking ahead to the UCLA game. NAU was an FCS Playoff team two years ago, and were in position to make it again last year, but two losses to end the year derailed that.

NAU certainly has the potential to at least make it interesting on Saturday.