Not only did Northern Arizona football return to the NCAA tournament, they are doing so at home.
On Saturday at 6 p.m. the Lumberjacks (7-4, 6-2 Big Sky) will host San Diego (9-2, 8-0 Pioneer) in the first round of the FCS playoffs on ESPN3. It is NAU’s first tournament appearance since 2013 and their sixth ever.
Northern Arizona is 5-1 at home this year and the Toreros are 4-2 on the road this season. The winner will play No. 2 seed North Dakota State.
NAU earned an at large berth while San Diego is the Pioneer champions.
In their most recent NCAA appearance, the Lumberjacks lost to South Dakota State but in 2003 they upset No. 1 seed McNeese State.
This is San Diego’s third playoff appearance in the last four seasons.
NAU also announced on Monday that head coach Jerome Souers will return next season reversing a decision made in September.
The Lumberjacks opened the season with two losses but since then they have risen as high as ninth in the national rankings and vice president for collegiate athletics Lisa Campos announced she was leaving for UTSA.
Souers holds the Big Sky records for wins (119), conference wins (82) and number of years as head coach.
“Maintaining stability in the athletics department is extremely important as NAU begins its search for a new athletics director,” said NAU President Rita Cheng at a press conference. “It will be a key consideration for those interested in NAU’s athletics director position to know they are walking into a strong and stable program and will have the time and ability to make coaching decisions.”