Senior running back Zach Bauman started the 2013 season kind of slow, but like a lot of professional players, they start to pick up the pace when it counts.
Bauman rushed for 127 yards in the first two games, added 33 yards receiving and no touchdowns, but has picked it up since.
The senior from Chandler, Ariz. has rushed for at least 90 yards in five of the past six games, and at least 118 yards in four of those games, with a career-high 266 in the mix.
In that six-game span, Bauman is averaging 141.3 yards per game on the ground and his 121.9 yards per game on the season is tops in the Big Sky Conference, more than 20 yards more than the second-best rusher. That average is also good for 11th in the nation under the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
Bauman is the ninth-best rusher in the FCS this season with 975 yards. His 4,778-career rushing yards puts him in fifth in Big Sky history. He is looking to become just the ninth player in FCS history to rush for 1,000 yards in four seasons.
Enough of the career accolades, if you know Northern Arizona football, you know all about them.
But what makes him go into turbo mode in the later part of the season?
As the case as the 2011 season, Bauman exploded after the third game and rushed for at least 100 yards in seven of the team’s final eight games, averaging 161.3 yards in those seven games.
Since the Lumberjacks’ 36-7 loss to Montana State on Oct. 5, in which Bauman gained just 42 total yards, Bauman has scorched the competition during NAU’s three-game win streak.
Bauman has gained a total of 640 yards (553 rushing) during the streak and has scored five total touchdowns (4 rush, 1 rec).
This includes a career-best 266 rushing yards on 28 carries on Oct. 19 versus the Idaho State Bengals. Bauman entered the third quarter with 74 yards before running his way to 168-third-quarter yards.
Everyone in Flagstaff knows when it comes to football, Zach Bauman is the one.
If the Lumberjacks look to continue their streak and make a run into the FCS playoffs, head coach Jerome Souers and offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello need to keep feeding the ball to Bauman, but make sure to do it in a way that doesn’t tire him out.