Published: Friday, October 26, 2012
Updated: Sunday, October 28, 2012 02:10
Jaisee Starr | The Mirror
UNC junior quarterback Seth Lobato (9) looks back to hand off the ball during practice this week. Lobato passed for 243 yards and five touchdowns last week against Idaho State.
After last weekend’s blowout win against Idaho State, the UNC football team hosts No. 13 Northern Arizona Saturday with hopes of knocking off a Big Sky co-leader.
The University of Northern Colorado (2-5, 1-3 Big Sky) earned its first win in the Big Sky Conference under head coach Earnest Collins Jr. last week, but challenges still lie ahead for the Bears, especially with Northern Arizona (6-1, 4-0) coming to Greeley.
“We just have to use our win from last week as momentum,” junior quarterback Seth Lobato said. “We’re just going to try and go out and execute.”
Lobato is coming off a five-touchdown performance against Idaho State, throwing for 243 yards, which puts him at 4,223 career passing yards. Lobato became the ninth Bear to pass the 4,000 career-passing yards mark.
The Bears offense was dominating, getting a record-breaking day on the ground from junior running back Tromaine Dennis, who carried 27 times for 178 yards.
The balanced attack that UNC displayed proved to be more than its opponent could handle, and it looks to use the same type of approach against Northern Arizona.
“You hope the players feed off that success — success breeds success,” Collins said. “You try to build off of what you did from the week before and you keep going.”
Northern Arizona being tied for second in the conference presents a tough challenge for the Bears as defending against an efficient running game like the Lumberjacks can prove to be difficult, with the team averaging 182.6 rushing yards a game.
To counter, the UNC defense is up to the task, especially after a week versus a pass-heavy offense, it looks to take advantage of the times their opponents put the ball in the air.
“With Northern Arizona, they’re more of a big play-action team, so being disciplined and doing what I’m supposed to do — not trying to do too much and just doing my job — I should be able to make plenty of plays in the air,” sophomore cornerback Courtney Hall said.
Hall had a big game last week, leading the Bears with eight tackles. The defense as a whole had two interceptions and three sacks.
“That running back (Zach Bauman) is a special guy,” Collins said. “He can run over you, he can run by you and he can make you miss. We got to corral him first and foremost, and then the rest of it feeds off of that.”
Bauman has 927 rushing yards this season and leads NAU’s running backs with eight touchdowns.
UNC’s game against Northern Arizona will kick off at 1:35 p.m. Saturday at Nottingham Field.