When Northern Arizona University quarterback Michael Herrick transferred to NAU in the spring of 2008, the last place he thought he would play a game was back at Ole Miss. But the Lumberjacks added the game last spring and Herrick will lead the Lumberjacks into Oxford as the starting quarterback at NAU.
“I am going to approach this game the way I do every other game,” said Herrick, who was a member of the Rebel program for the 2006 and 2007 seasons. “There is a little bit of emotion to the game since I used to play there, and I am familiar with it and know some of the guys on the team. I am going to approach it the same. I am excited for teammates. It is going to be a fun game to play.”
The game will be available live online via ESPN360.com—ESPN’s signature broadband sports TV network. The game is available free to any student on campus (in fact, to any student on any U.S. college campus—nearly 18 million people). The game also can be seen on CSS and ESPN Game Plan and heard on the Sodexo Lumberjack Radio Network in Flagstaff (KAFF AM 930) and Phoenix/Globe (KRDE 94.1 FM).
Fans outside of Arizona can hear the broadcast at stretchinternet.com. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:35 Mountain Standard Time.
Herrick ranks among the FCS Top 10 in passing efficiency (159.1) and total offense (303.3) this season. He has thrown for 2,477 yards with 18 touchdowns and just five interceptions in eight games this season. He is completing 68.8 percent of his throws, completing 196-for-285 passes on the season.
“My teammates and my coaches have given me an opportunity to play and show what I’ve got,” Herrick said. “My offensive line has done a tremendous job this whole year. The receivers have been getting open and the coaches have been calling the right plays. I have to give credit to all of them because I am nothing without them.”
Ole Miss has been ranked as high as No. 5 in the nation this season and had high aspirations after a strong finish to 2008 and a victory in the Cotton Bowl against Texas Tech. But the Rebels enter the game with a 5-3 mark and 2-3 in the SEC.
“Ole Miss presents a challenge that is very difficult to prepare for,” said head coach Jerome Souers. “We don’t have that kind of speed in our program to practice against or do anything fundamentality against. It will present a hardship for us. There is going to have to be a lot of adapting on the run.
“This is a tough game for us in regards to the speed and athleticism we are going to see,” Souers continued. “We don’t normally have team of that type of team on our schedule. We are probably three or four inches and 30 or 40 pounds smaller than the type of player that gets recruited at the higher levels. It is difficult coming into a game like that. We match up fine at our level. But when you see the kind of speed and athleticism that we are going to line up to it is going to make it really difficult for us.”
Herrick says the Lumberjacks need to stick together and stay with the game plan.
“We just have to be smart and protect the football,” Herrick said. “We have to trust each other. We can’t be intimidated. We respect Ole Miss and the big time football definitely. We just can’t be afraid. I think we just have to play our game and hopefully things go our way. We are going to go out and try to win like we do every week.”
NAU returns to Big Sky Conference play next week at Weber State.
ESPN360.com is ESPN’s live sports broadband network, giving fans a 24/7 online destination that delivers more than 3,500 live, global sports events annually. It is available at no cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection from an affiliated service provider. ESPN360.com is currently available in nearly 41 million homes. It is available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks.