No. 24 Northern Arizona football wins fourth straight with 42-20 victory at Portland State

Senior receiver Elijah Marks hauled in six receptions for 173 yards and a touchdown – his fourth consecutive game with more than 100 receiving yards.

NAU Athletics

Senior receiver Elijah Marks hauled in six receptions for 173 yards and a touchdown – his fourth consecutive game with more than 100 receiving yards.

PORTLAND, Ore. - The No. 24 Northern Arizona football team capitalized on a pair of critical third quarter interceptions and rolled up 28 unanswered points in the second half to seal a 42-20 victory at Portland State on Saturday afternoon and extend their current winning streak to four games.

The win moves the Lumberjacks' overall record to 4-2 overall and a perfect 3-0 in Big Sky action. Portland State slips to 0-6 and 0-3 in conference action after the setback.

NAU improves to 9-3 all-time against the Vikings in games played in Portland and have now won seven of the last eight games in the series overall.

"Despite their record, Portland State is a good football team," NAU head coach Jerome Souers said. "This is a quality win for us. When you're on the road, every team is going to make a run and we anticipated that. What you must do is counter that momentum and win the turnover battle. That, as well as our explosive plays on offense in the third quarter, was the counter. We made more plays than they did and that kept momentum on our side."

The Lumberjacks finished the game with 484 yards of total offense – marking the fifth time in six games this season they have amassed over 400 yards of total offense.

Sophomore quarterback Case Cookus directed the 'Jacks attack and finished with 347 yards and four touchdowns through the air while completing 23-of-39 passes. Senior receiver Elijah Marks was Cookus' top target as he hauled in six receptions for 173 yards and a touchdown – his fourth consecutive game with more than 100 receiving yards.

Junior Cory Young led NAU on the ground as he totaled 109 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries for his second 100-plus rushing performance of the season.

Portland State took an early 7-0 lead on its first possession of the game when Za'Quan Summers broke free for a 65-yard touchdown run just 1:59 into the opening quarter.

The Lumberjacks answered on the next drive with an eight-yard touchdown strike from Cookus to Justis Stokes for his first career touchdown reception to deadlock the game at 7-7 with 10:46 left in the first quarter. The scoring drive was set up by a 63-yard run by Young – the longest rush by a Lumberjack this season.

Cookus gave the 'Jacks their first lead of the game on the following drive with his second touchdown toss of the contest as he hit tight end Jonathan Baldwin from three yards out to make the score 14-7 NAU with 5:09 remaining in the first quarter. The catch marked Baldwin's fourth scoring grab of the season.

The Vikings opened the second half with a 12-play, 56-yard drive that led to a 28-yard field goal by Graycen Kennedy which trimmed the NAU advantage to 14-10 with 10:04 left in the third quarter.

Kennedy added another 28-yard field goal on the next possession for the Vikings to make the score 14-13 after the Portland State defense forced the Lumberjack offense into a three and out, which was followed by an 18-yard punt by NAU's DJ Arnson, setting up PSU at the NAU 35-yard line to open the drive.

Northern Arizona answered with a six-play, 59-yard drive that was keyed by a 51-yard reception by Marks. The Lumberjacks came away empty however as sophomore kicker Griffin Roehler sailed a 34-yard field goal attempt wide right.

The Lumberjack defense responded in a big way on the next two Portland State possessions with back-to-back interceptions to return the momentum to the NAU sideline.

Junior cornerback Maurice Davison picked off his second pass of the season and ran it back 25-yards for a score to up the NAU margin to 21-13 with 5:23 left in the third quarter.

Three plays later junior Cole Sterns pulled down his second career interception to set up the Lumberjacks at the NAU 48-yard line.

Cookus connected with Marks for a 42-yard reception before Young capped off the scoring drive with a 10-yard scoring jaunt for his fourth rushing touchdown of the season to push the Lumberjacks' lead to 28-13 with 4:08 left in the third quarter.

The 'Jacks kept piling on the points as Marks caught his team-leading fifth touchdown of the season on a 22-yard pass from Cookus just six seconds into the fourth quarter, increasing their lead to 35-13.

Cookus added his fourth touchdown pass of the game to cap off a four-play, 60-yard scoring drive with an 18-yard scoring strike to freshman Matthew Kempton to up the advantage to 42-13 with 10:57 left in regulation.

Portland State added a touchdown on a one-yard run by Chase Morrison with 1:39 left in the fourth quarter to account for the final margin.

Junior safety Wes Sutton led a NAU defense that limited Portland State to just 152 yards passing for the game with 10 tackles.

The 20 points for Portland State marked the fourth consecutive game that the 'Jacks have limited their opponent to 20 points or less – the longest streak for the program since 1995.

The Lumberjacks return home next weekend on Saturday, Oct. 21 for a showdown against UC Davis in a 4 p.m. MST kickoff from the J. Lawrence Walkup Skydome.

Postgame Notes – at Portland State

Northern Arizona extends its current winning streak to four games – its longest since posting four consecutive victories from Oct. 8-Nov. 5, 2016.

The 20 points for Portland State marked the fourth consecutive game that the 'Jacks have limited their opponent to 20 points or less – the longest streak for the program since 1995.

The Lumberjacks finished with 484 yards of total offense – their fifth game over the first six this season in which they have totaled at least 400 yards.

NAU has won seven of the last eight meetings with Portland State following Saturday's victory and improves 9-3 in the all-time series with the Vikings.

Elijah Marks finished with 173 receiving yards and a touchdown. The senior receiver has tallied over 100 yards receiving in each of the last four games and in five of six games in 2017.

Marks also hauled in his team-leading fifth touchdown reception in the victory.

Marks' touchdown increased his career total to 19 which is tied for the fifth-most in the program's history with Francis St. Paul and four behind Alex Watson (23) for fourth place.

Junior running back Cory Young finished with 109 rushing yards – his second 100-plus yard rushing performance of the season.

Sophomore quarterback Case Cookus eclipsed 6,000 yards career passing yards with a seven-yard toss to Hunter Burton in the second quarter and moved past Scott Lindquist into seventh place on the NAU career passing yards list with his current total of 6,221.

Senior receiver Elijah Marks moved into 10th place on the NAU all-time receiving yards list with his current total of 1,961 – passing Hendricks Johnson (1,950).

DJ Arnson's 69-yard punt with 28 seconds remaining in the second quarter was the longest for the Lumberjacks this season as well as Arnson's collegiate career.

Junior Cory Young's 63-yard run in the first quarter marked the longest by Northern Arizona this season.

Junior tight end Jonathan Baldwin's first-quarter touchdown catch marked the fourth game over the first six this season that his has hauled in a scoring reception.

Portland State's Braxton Winterton was ejected in the first quarter for targeting.

Portland State amassed 177 rushing yards in the first half on a total of 26 carries (6.8 yards per carry).

Saturday's game marked the Lumberjacks first trip to Providence Park in Portland since Oct. 18, 2014 – a nearly three-year stretch.

The NAU defense entered Saturday's game with the fifth-most interceptions nationally – the 'Jacks added two more to increase their six-game total to 11.

The Lumberjacks are a perfect 4-0 when leading at halftime in 2017 following Saturday's win.

NAU finished Saturday's win at Portland State with 353 yards through the air – its fourth over the first six games in which it has posted over 300 passing yards.

The Lumberjacks erupted for 28 second-half points in Saturday's win at Portland State to turn a 14-13 game with 7:34 minutes left in the third quarter to a 42-20 final margin.