Rough first half hurts football
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Colorado football team couldn't overcome a rough first half and dropped its final road game of the year, 34-14 at Northern Arizona.
The Bears fall to 0-10 overall and 0-7 in Big Sky Conference play headed into their final contest next Saturday against Portland State. The Lumberjacks (4-5, 3-4 Big Sky) led 17-0 at halftime and extended that lead to 27-0 after three quarters before NC scored two of the last three touchdowns for the 34-14 final.
Northern Colorado tallied just 87 yards of total offense in the first half, while Northern Arizona had 257, but the Bears bounced back with 206 yards of offense in the second half.
Sophomore quarterback Seth Lobato completed 23-of-45 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns with 196 of those yards coming in the second half (15-for-24). Junior John Burnley, getting his first start since 2009, carried the ball six times for 23 yards, while Lobato had 16 yards on the ground.
Senior wide receiver Patrick Walker tallied his fourth-straight 100-yard receiving game, catching nine passes for 125 yards and one touchdown. Walker is now second all-time at Northern Colorado with 169 catches, needing just eight in his final game as a Bear to tie Vincent Jackson's career mark of 177 (2001-04). Junior Dominic Gunn also had a touchdown reception on the evening, catching three passes for 24 yards, while junior Chris Morris had six catches for 65 yards.
Sophomore linebacker Clarence Bumpas continued to dominate in Big Sky Conference play, notching 18 total tackles, tied for the fifth-highest total in the school's Division I history. He has been in double figures in the last eight games and his 133 stops on the year are third on the D-I list for the Bears (142, Cristian Sarmento, 2008; 135, Sarmento, 2007).
After having four turnovers a week ago, Northern Colorado buckled down and didn't turn the ball over at all and was able to take it away twice from Northern Arizona as both senior Brandon Owens and junior Marcel Gibbons each had interceptions.
Northern Arizona was led by running back Zach Bauman with 28 carries for 124 yards to go along with five receptions for another 121 yards and three total touchdowns (2 rushing, 1 receiving).
The Lumberjack defense had 11 tackles for loss and four sacks in the game and both Eric Storey and Blayne Anderson led with five tackles each.
The Bears close out the 2011 season next Saturday when they host the Vikings at noon at Nottingham Field. Before kickoff the team will honor the 15 seniors on the team.