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Northern Arizona's Souers to miss playoff game

Flagstaff, AR (SportsNetwork.com) - Northern Arizona University said head football coach Jerome Souers will miss Saturday night's FCS playoff game versus South Dakota State due to complications that arose from necessary back surgery.

The Lumberjacks will host the first-round game at the Walkup Skydome.

Defensive coordinator Andy Thompson was named interim coach and will lead the Lumberjacks from the sidelines in Souers' absence.

"This is Coach Souers' team," Thompson said. "He has prepared us for this moment. We are focused on continuing the work that Coach Souers has had us doing over the past couple of months. The best way to honor Jerome is to go out and play the way we were trained to do. We look forward to having him back."

"We have an outstanding leader in Coach Souers," added senior All-American running back Zach Bauman. "Our thoughts are with him, and we know that he would want us to focus on the game versus South Dakota State. We are going to go out there and dedicate the game to Coach Souers."

NAU, from the Big Sky Conference, is appearing in the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

South Dakota State is a Missouri Valley Football Conference member.

11/30 18:37:28 ET

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Breaking The Line
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Samuel G. Freedman's "Breaking The Line" vividly recreates the world of black college football in the civil rights era with a gripping chronicle of the 1967 season for coach Eddie Robinson at Grambling State and Alonzo S. "Jake" Gaither at Florida A&M.