FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Case Cookus found Brandon Porter for a touchdown pass to end the first half and another to start the second as Northern Arizona broke away from a field goal battle, defeating Missouri State 37-23 in Thursday night's season opener.
New coach Chris Ball began his tenure with the win.
Cookus and Porter teamed on an 8-yard pass with 18 seconds left before halftime and on a 62-yarder early in the third quarter, the 14-0 burst pushing the lead to 27-6.
Cookus finished with 290 yards, completing 18 of 29, and is the fifth Lumberjack to pass for more than 8,000 yards. Porter led all receivers with 140 yards on six catches.
Missouri State managed three Parker Lacina field goals until Peyton Huslig hooked up with Tyler Currie on a 30-yard pass play — the Bears' first touchdown of the season coming with five seconds left in the third quarter. Huslig threw for 289 yards.
NAU's Luis Aguilar kicked three field goals including a career-best 48-yarder.
Two NAU players were ejected for targeting.