Northern Arizona found itself facing a 17-point deficit halfway through the third quarter, but the Lumberjacks closed out the game with 18 unanswered points to top Sacramento State, 39-38, Saturday at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento.
NAU (4-2, 2-1 Big Sky) racked up 619 yards of offense and quarterbacks Chase Cartwright and Kyren Poe combined for 402 yards and four touchdowns on 35-of-47 passing. The Hornets (3-4, 2-1) totaled 397 yards of offense, 220 of which came through the air.
Sacramento State fell in an early 14-3 hole, but rallied to score 28 straight points for a 31-14 lead midway through the third quarter. But Cartwright found Nick Cole for a 42-yard score to make it 31-21 before Garrett Safron answered with a 50-yard touchdown run for the Hornets.
But then the NAU offense came alive.
Cartwright added two touchdown passes in the game's final 16:10, and the Lumberjacks took the lead for good on Zach Bauman's 25-yard run with 9:23 left in the game. Sacramento State gained just 17 yards of offense after that point, and Northern Arizona milked the final 5:55 off the clock with a 10-play drive that started at its own 2-yard line.
The Lumberjacks continue their season next Saturday when they host Idaho State at 4:05 in the Walkup Skydome.