Eastern Washington coach Mike Kramer has noticed the recent decline in Archie Amerson’s rushing numbers and attributes it to Northern Arizona getting back to being Northern Arizona again.
“What they’ve settled into these last three ballgames is their normal offense - which is to throw the ball until you get so tired you can’t stand up, and then run it at you late,” Kramer said of the Lumberjacks and their senior tailback, who will provide the opposition Saturday in the Eagles’ 1:05 p.m. home finale at Woodward Stadium.
NAU, which opened the season with redshirt freshman Travis Brown under center, tried to protect their rookie quarterback by making Amerson the centerpiece of the offense.
Seven games into the season he was averaging 206.3 yards per game, after running for 281 yards and an I-AA-record seven touchdowns against Weber State.
“He’s awesome,” Kramer said of the 5-foot-9, 175-pounder. “He plays in a good scheme and they do a nice job of getting him the ball in the right situations. Early in the season, they were trying to protect their quarterback and they gave the ball to Archie a bunch of times and he ran wild on people.”
Amerson’s rushing numbers have dipped slightly to 191.2 yards per game, which is still 84 per game more than the Big Sky’s No. 2 rusher, EWU’s Joe Sewell.
In addition, he has 26 touchdown and a league-high 156 points.
“Lately, they’ve let their quarterback throw the ball a lot more,” Kramer explained. “That’s why Amerson’s numbers are down - if you can call 191 yards a game down … his carries are down.”
Despite the hype Amerson has received, Kramer seems more concerned about Brown.
The 6-foot-5, 210-pound Brown ranks third in the Big Sky in passing efficiency with a rating of 140.48. He has completed 200 of 369 passes for 3,140 yards and 22 touchdowns.
“Two-hundred out of 369 for a freshman quarterback? C’mon,” Kramer marveled. “I played at Idaho in ‘74 and we had 55 fumbles. Our quarterbacks couldn’t complete that many pitchouts.”
Return to the cheap seats
Montana coach Mick Dennehy, who missed last Saturday’s win over Northridge after undergoing emergency surgery for an infected colon, will watch Saturday’s Portland State game from the press box and once again leave all on-the-field decisions to his assistants.
“I’m fine, but a little weak,” Dennehy said. “I’m not as immortal as I thought I was.”
Subscribe to The Spokesman-Review’s sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.