Although Cal State Northridge sputtered to its third consecutive loss, falling to Northern Arizona, 23-9, Saturday night, Matador Coach Bob Burt put a positive spin on it.
"We're playing through incredible adversity," he said. "Our third consecutive road trip against teams with the wherewithall to pound us by 50 or 60 points and we're hanging in there. If we play in our league the way we played the first three games we're gonna win some games."
The Matadors' third starting quarterback in as many games, J.J. O'Laughlin, who transferred from Illinois less than two weeks ago, completed 10 of 29 passes for just 31 yards and one interception.
"Overall, the offense needs to do a much better job," O'Laughlin said. "Sometimes it was me, sometimes it was the receivers, sometimes the running backs. There's no one to blame but the entire offense."
The Matadors (0-3) were limited to a 34-yard field goal by Jason Camp and cornerback Ralph Henderson's 48-yard touchdown run with a fumble recovery.
Northern Arizona (3-0) countered with one scoring drive, a 73-yard punt return by Alex Calderwood, and three field goals by Terry Belden, including a record 60-yarder in the second quarter.
Belden's kick broke the Big Sky Conference record of 59 yards set by Jan Stenerud of Montana State in 1965 and tied by Joe Petrone of Idaho State in 1968.