77 points – record. 499 rushing yards – record. 792 total yards – record. Thank you for visiting, Northern Arizona. Mind turning out the lights when you leave?
Arizona used their FCS neighbors to the north to dust off their record book and replace a few old numbers. The Wildcats came out struggling a bit, but then chopped down the Lumberjacks with a forest full of offense.
Tucson was alive on this Saturday evening with fans crawling along University Boulevard toward The Mall where tailgating rules. The Pride of Arizona Marching Band and a huge throng of fans filled Cherry Avenue as the players came through for their traditional Wildcat Walk. Once the streets cleared, Northern Arizona’s band, complete with Lumberjack mascot, made their trip to the big time with a march to the stadium that garnered considerably less hoopla. Lumberjack fans did show in nice numbers, although their band was relegated to the upper deck corner, forced to use every ounce of lung pressure to make themselves heard.
True to form, Arizona Stadium was packed with a boisterous red. NAU kept the crowd cooled off by cutting their deficit to one early in the second quarter. But, the goal line would become foreign territory for the Lumberjacks from that point on. Conversely, the Wildcats would go on a scoring frenzy that kept everyone cheering late into the desert night. Quarterbacks Anu Solomon and Jerrard Randall kept the scoreboard operator awake with huge plays that gashed the NAU defense.
77-13 would be the final score – a blowout in record breaking proportions for Arizona. It only increases anticipation for a season that already held heaps of expectation. This win has also caught the interest of ESPN’s pregame show College Gameday, which will broadcast live from The Mall this upcoming Saturday when UCLA invades Tucson. Having felt the pulse of a gameday at U of A, Wildcat fans will be primed to “Bear Down” in this epic Pac-12 opener.