FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- 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.
Concerned Power 5 leaders remain in wait-and-see mode about on-time start for college football
As the number of coronavirus cases nationwide continues to rise, concern among Power 5 commissioners has mounted, though they recently told ESPN they still aren't ready to make any major changes to the college football calendar.
Fordham game in Hawaii canceled due to virus
Fordham has canceled its game in Hawaii due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Former MSU WR Andre Rison says assistant coach struck him
Former Michigan State wide receiver Andre Rison says he was slapped by an assistant coach in 1986.
Tigers Fan Council pushes for better guest experiences
A group of passionate LSU fans created the Tigers Fan Council to give their input on how to improve the guest experience at sporting events.
Big 12 preview: Texas and Oklahoma stand in each other's way
Oklahoma has a playoff streak but Texas has quarterback continuity. Brad Edwards dives into the data to explore the likeliest outcomes in the Big 12.
Coronavirus testing a stress threat for athletic budgets
Facing the prospect of having to pay for testing of returning athletes and staff for the coronavirus, athletic departments are looking for ways to cut costs.