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Arizona vs. NAU: Players of the game

arizona-wildcats-football-top-players-nau-lumberjacks-recap-notables-2023 Zachary BonDurant-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday night, the Arizona Wildcats started off the 2023 season with a bang, beating the NAU Lumberjacks 38-3.

It was a far-cry from 2 years ago when the ‘Cats lost to the ‘Jacks 21-19. But, all is right with the world now.

Let’s take a look at the player’s of the game for the first win of the season.


Jayden de Laura, QB

  • Stat Line: 18-for-24, 285 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT; 3 car, 47 yds, 1 TD

De Laura had a very good game Saturday night. He looked more poised and patient in the pocket and, for the most part, did a great job extending plays with his legs. He showed more maturity by utilizing his check-downs regularly and didn’t force too many throws. He had a surprising 53-yard touchdown run on a zone read and just outran everyone on the field. His major mistake came in the second quarter when he took off on a run and fumbled the ball in the red zone after a hard hit. But, if this game was any indication, it is clear JdL took a few steps forward during the off-season.


Martell Irby, DB

  • Stat Line: 7 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 PBU

This was actually a hard decision, but Irby really impressed. He took over at the STAR position for Treydan Stukes, who was also have a great game but ended up getting injured. As soon as Irby made it into the game, he made his presence felt. He was all over the field and was constantly around the ball. He is really quick about diagnosing and reacting to plays. He made multiple stops for no gain and showed that he is good against screen passes and plays out in the flats.

Special Teams

Ta’ita’i Uigalelei & Tacario Davis

  • Stat Line: Field goal block & scoop-n-score

NAU started the second half by marching down the field, but they stalled inside the 10-yard line. After a delay of game on the first field goal attempt, Uiagalelei blew through the line on the second and batted the ball down, then Davis quickly picked up the ball and sprinted 85 yards in the opposite direction for a scoop-n-score, and a massive momentum shift.

Honorable Mentions

  • Jonah Coleman, RB: 3 car, 29 yds; 3 rec, 59 yds, 1 TD
  • Jacob Manu, LB: 9 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 sack
  • Tyler Loop, K: FG: 1-for-1, 35 yds; 5 for 5 PAT; Kickoffs: 6 touchbacks; 1 lowered-shoulder boom tackle