September 24, 2009

Football Looks For Second Win As 1969 Team Celebrated

Northern Colorado Notes | Montana State Notes | Big Sky Conference Notes

40-Year Reunion
Saturday has been tabbed NC Football Legends Day and the 1969 undefeated team will be honored during halftime. That team is the only one so far in Northern Colorado history to go undefeated, as they posted a 10-0 record and won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title. They won six games by 20 or more points, with their average margin of victory at 31.3 points. On Homecoming, the 1969 squad defeated Fort Lewis, 68-0 and they also shut out Colorado School of Mines (58-0) and Montana State Billings (35-0).

Members from the 1969 coming back for the celebration are: Bob Blasi, Dennis Becking, Doug Campbel, Bob Carlson, Pec Clark, Kent Cluck, Joe Drew, Ken Emry, Steve Hayes, Mickey Holmes, Greg Hume, George Kaplan, Ron Keiter, Murray Kula, Martin McGuffey, Dennis Merkel, Mark Peterson, Rick Pierson, Chuck Putnik, Ben Pyatt, Ian Roberts, Buck Rollins, Ralph Schmadeke, Mike Sharp, Tom Shoemaker, Mike Spadafino, Randy Thompson, John Vogt, Tom Walker, Mike Wilson and John Zurbrigen.

Paper or Plastic?
Sophomore Nick Hernon tallied 2.5 sacks in the game against Eastern Washington. It is the most sacks in a single game since Kurt Hout tallied 2.5 against Fort Lewis on Oct. 29, 2005. Hernon also tied his career-high with six tackles in the game.

Going Backwards
Against Eastern Washington on Saturday, each team recorded 10.0 tackles for loss. It is the second-most since the Bears began the transition to Division I in 2003. Against Adams State on Oct. 25, 2003 the team tallied 11.0 tackles for loss.

Did You Know?
Northern Colorado leads the Big Sky Conference in pass defense, allowing just 162.0 yards per game. That total also ranks 34th in the nation.

By The Numbers
With his 160 passing yards against Eastern Washington, senior quarterback Bryan Waggener moved into 10th on the all-time career passing chart at Northern Colorado with 3,092 yards. He passes Mark Passard (1998-02), who tallied 3,006 yards in his four seasons. With just 767 more yards, Waggener will pass Nick Henkowski (1980-83) for ninth.

National Rankings
Junior running back Andre Harris ranks 28th in the latest NCAA statistics, averaging 90.33 yards per game. Senior Ryan Lutz also ranks 31st in punt return yardage, averaging 6.67 yards a return. Both rank third in the Big Sky Conference statistics.

Scouting Montana State
The Bobcats are coming off a bye-week and are 1-1 on the season after falling 44-3 to Michigan State and then defeating Dixie State 23-20. MSU ranks second in the league in rushing defense, allowing 116.0 yards per game. Punter Eric Fisher leads the Big Sky and ranks third in the nation, averaging 45.27 yards per game, while kicker Jason Cunningham leads the Big Sky and is tied for fifth with 2.0 field goals a game. Dane Fletcher also leads the conference with 1.75 tackles for loss per contest.

No Easy Weeks
This is the fourth straight game this season for the Bears against a team either ranked or receiving votes in the national polls. Montana State is getting votes in both the Sports Network and the FCS Coaches Poll.

Schools From Montana
Northern Colorado is 13-21-1 all-time against schools from the state of Montana (1-7 vs Montana, 10-14-1 vs Montana State, 2-0 vs Montana State-Billings).

Defense To Offense
Northern Colorado has forced at least one turnover in 17 of the team's last 18 games against FCS competition. Over those 17 games, the Bears have forced 24 fumbles and picked off 26 passes.

Home Sweet Home
The Bears return home for their second of six home games. Northern Colorado is 1-0 at Nottingham Field this year and 28-22 since the turn of the century.

Notes From EWU Game

  • Junior safety Max Hewitt tallied a career-best 13 tackles, including two tackles for loss and forced a fumble.
  • Junior cornerback Korey Askew recovered a fumble and returned it 36 yards in the first quarter. It is the fifth longest return in school history and the longest since Tommy Cook had a 41-yard return for a touchdown against Western Washington in 2003.
  • For the second straight game, junior running back Andre Harris surpassed the century total in total offense. He had 147 yards on the day (97 rushing, 50 receiving), leading the team in both categories.
  • Freshman wide receiver Jace Davis made his first career reception, a gain of eight yards for the Bears.

Conference Home Opener
Northern Colorado kicks off its home portion of the Big Sky Conference schedule on Saturday against Montana State in a regionally televised game by Altitude Sports & Entertainment. The Bears are 0-3 in home conference openers since joining the league.

It's An Honor
Junior running back Andre Harris was named the Big Sky Conference offensive player of the week after rushing for 152 yards in the Bears' 31-12 victory over San Diego. Harris averaged 7.6 yards per carry, ripping off non-scoring runs of 39 and 45 yards. He scored on a 7-yard run with 11:43 to play to put the Bears up 24-12. He capped the scoring with a 19-yard run with 7:59 to play. Harris also caught four passes for 37 yards, giving him 189 all-purpose yards. His 152 rushing yards is the most at Northern Colorado since Andre Wilson rushed for 158 against Western Illinois on Sept. 23, 2006.

Big Play Bears
Northern Colorado has had eight plays so far this year of 20 yards or more. Against Kansas, senior quarterback Bryan Waggener completed two passes for more than 20, while against San Diego the Bears had six plays, four rushes and two more completions from Waggener. Senior Alex Thompson, junior Andre Harris, sophomore Patrick Walker and freshman John Burnley have each been in on two long plays.

Pick Four
Northern Colorado defenders intercepted four passes in the win over San Diego. It is the most since the Bears' picked four passes against Idaho State last season on Oct. 11 and the third straight year NC has had four interceptions in a single game. Four different student-athletes recorded a pick as junior Korey Askew, junior Max Hewitt, sophomore Chuks Nweke and senior Quincy Wofford each had one.

Going Long
In the first quarter against San Diego, senior quarterback Bryan Waggener connected with senior wide receiver Alex Thompson for an 80-yard touchdown. It ties for the fifth-longest passing play in school history. Corte McGuffey passed to current running backs coach Keith Grable against Adams State in 1998 and Nick Hager completed an 80-yard pass to Cory Sleeth against Colorado School of Mines in 2005.

Double Century
For just the third time during head coach Scott Downing's career at Northern Colorado, the Bears had a 100-yard rusher and receiver in the same game. Junior running back Andre Harris had 152 rushing yards, while senior receiver Alex Thompson has 106 reception yards against San Diego. On Nov. 15, 2008 at Sacramento State, David Woods rushed for 103 and Thompson had 145 yards receiving, while on Nov. 11, 2006, Andre Wilson had 139 rushing yards and Robert Long tallied 107 receiving yards.

Return Policy
Senior Ryan Lutz tallied 50 punt return yards against San Diego on Saturday. It is the most in a game since Aaron Henderson had 59 against Fort Lewis on Oct. 29, 2005. His 50 yards in the game is also just one yard shy of last year's season total for Dominic Gunn, the team's leading returner. In 2008, the Bears had just 74 punt return yards total, while in 2007 they amassed just 77 yards. Lutz currently ranks 14th in the nation averaging 10.0 yards per return and is second in the Big Sky Conference.

Hitting The Mark

  • Senior quarterback Bryan Waggener has now thrown for over 3,000 yards in his career and moved into 10th on the career records chart with 3,092 yards. He passes Mark Passard, who had 3,006 yards (1998-02).
  • Junior cornerback Korey Askew tallied the fifth-most fumble return yards with his 36 in the first quarter at Eastern Washington.
  • Sophomore punter Cameron Kaman surpassed 3,000 punt yards at Eastern Washington and now has 3,086 in his career.
  • Senior linebacker Logan Zabel tallied the 50th tackle of his career and now has 51.

Half Dozen
For the first time since 2006, Northern Colorado plays more home games than road games as the Bears had the first of six at Nottingham Field on Saturday.

Welcome to the Family
Defensive coordinator Cody Deti and his wife Megan gave birth to a son, Samuel Wayne, on Saturday morning, August 29. Both mother and baby are doing well. He is their first child.

What To Look For

  • Junior Max Hewitt tallied his seventh career interception against San Diego and now has 98 return yards in his career, needing just two more for 100.
  • Senior wide receiver Alex Thompson needs just 20 more all-purpose yards for 1,000 in his career at Northern Colorado.
  • Senior Quincy Wofford is now just 38 yards shy of 500 all-purpose yards in his career and is 10 tackles shy of 100.
  • Senior running back DC Wilson needs just two more rushing yards for 700 in his career with the Bears.

Preseason Honors
Several Bears received preseason attention from various publications. Senior quarterback Bryan Waggener was named a 2009 Consensus Draft Services Preseason All-American Honorable Mention while senior kicker Michael York was named to the Phil Steele Preseason All-Big Sky Conference First Team and junior linebacker John Eddy was named to the Second Team.

Bears Story Lines

  • Junior James Schrenk made the move from quarterback to linebacker during spring drills and is first on the depth chart.
  • Redshirt freshman Darin McDonald joins the Bears team after a short stint at Wyoming. Prior to that, he spent three seasons in the Philadelphia Phillies minor league baseball system.
  • Junior college transfer Andre Harris came to Northern Colorado for fall camp. He is considered one of the top running backs from California by several agencies.
  • The Bears return all eight on the depth chart among defensive linemen from a year ago.
  • Three players, safety Ryan Lutz, defensive back C.J. Stemo and kicker Michael York have all received their bachelor's degrees and have begun work on their masters.
  • Northern Colorado athletics ranks first in the Big Sky Conference in graduation success rate, with last year's rate at 93%.
  • Two upperclassmen on the team, junior kicker Zak Bigelow and junior offensive lineman Tim McGraw both have perfect 4.00 grade point averages and are in the Monfort College of Business.
  • A total of 13 student-athletes were named to the Monfort College of Business Dean's Citation List and five were from football. Junior Zak Bigelow, junior Matt McDonnell, junior Tim McGraw, sophomore Chuks Nweke and senior Michael York were all honored.
  • Both junior wide receiver Brandon Smith and senior offensive lineman Ryan Kemp are out for the remainder of the season with injuries.

Champions Council
This season, head coach Scott Downing decided to have a council of players who would lead the team and take more of a leadership role instead of the more traditional 2-3 captains. Those players, elected by their teammates are: junior Zak Bigelow, freshman John Burnley, freshman Cameron Friend, senior Chris Jones, senior Ryan Kemp, senior Ryan Lutz, junior Tim McGraw, sophomore Chuks Nweke, sophomore Dylan Orms, sophomore Colby Riggins, junior James Schrenk, senior C.J. Stemo, senior Thomas Stuemky, freshman Curtis Truett and junior Michael Van Portfliet.