Northern Arizona FCS Football 2012 Playoff Capsule

Northern Arizona Lumberjacks
Big Sky


For most of the year Northern Arizona has flown under the national radar. In the meantime, Coach Jerome Souers and company just kept on winning. They did hit a snag late in the year with a triple overtime upset loss at the hands of Southern Utah. Other than that, this is a team that has played extremely well. The defense has done an amazing job, holding five opponents to ten points or fewer throughout the campaign.

2012 Record: 8-3, 6-2
Coach: Jerome Souers

Big Wins: 9/8 at UNLV (17-14), 9/22 at Montana (41-31)
Bad Losses: 11/10 Southern Utah (29-35), 11/17 Cal Poly (34-42)

Very few teams, outside of Arizona State back in August, have been able to crack the Lumberjacks defense. Montana and North Dakota were able to score quite a few points against NAU, but the Lumberjacks offense was able to keep up and then some. The defense is not flashy. They do not tally a ton of turnovers or garner too many sacks. They just play great, straight up defense. Throwing against corners Anders Battle and Devin Willis has proven to be extremely difficult. Add Blair Wishom and Lucky Dozier to the secondary and NAU has a great starting group. And this is the Big Sky after all so the defensive backs have been tested week in and week out. The front four does have a few pass rushing threats. Jarret Bilbrey is a big 6-5 end who can wreak havoc in the backfield even if he is not tallying sacks. Tim Wilkinson and Marc Thompson have been very productive in the interior of the line.

By Big Sky standards, the Northern Arizona offense is lacking in the passing game. Cary Grossart has not had a breakout senior season, but he is still a pretty efficient quarterback who can move the chains and avoid mistakes. The numbers are not going to be there, but as long as Grossart can avoid tossing interceptions, the Lumberjacks offense can usually do enough to win. Receivers Dejzon Walker, Ify Umodu and Nick Cole have big play capabilities and using them to stretch out the defense a bit will be very important for Northern Arizona. The offense relies much more heavily on the ground game and any effective passing NAU can do will make life much easier for Zach Bauman. Bauman has rushed for over 1,000 yards during his first three seasons with the team and he is the workhorse of the offense. Northern Arizona will try and balance out the offense by putting the ball in the air, but that will get tougher and tougher as the playoffs roll on and Bauman cannot do it all.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Zach Bauman, RB, 1,182 yards
Passing: Cary Grossart, QB, 1,997 yards
Receiving: Dejzon Walker, WR, 505 yards
Tackles: Anders Battle, CB, 64
Sacks: Jarret Bilbrey, DE, 7.0
Interceptions: Lucky Dozier, S, 4

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 182.10 (33rd in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 229.30 (41, 9)
Total Offense: 411.40 (34, 7)
Scoring Offense: 31.40 (29, 6)
Rushing Defense: 119.00 (14, 3)
Pass Defense: 207.10 (54, 1)
Total Defense: 326.10 (27, 2)
Scoring Defense: 21.80 (35, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.40 (33, 4)
Sacks: 2.60 (22, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 2.80 (97, 8)

Recent Playoff Appearances:
2003    First Round    Defeated McNeese State
2003    Quarterfinals    Lost to Florida Atlantic
2001    First Round    Lost to Sam Houston State
1999    First Round    Lost to Georgia Southern
1996    First Round    Lost to Furman

*all team stats through 11/10


Playoff Central