The Thunderbirds (2-1) will open Big Sky play against Sacramento State on Saturday, Sept. 23 at Hornet Stadium. The teams last matched up in a 44-0 home win for SUU in the 2015 season. The all-time series between the schools is deadlocked at eight wins apiece.
SUU will be entering this game with a chip on their shoulder after being left out of the rankings despite beating No. 18 Northern Iowa 24-21 in week three. The defense stole the spotlight for SUU in that game, holding UNI to just 270 total yards and -14 rushing yards. Junior linebacker Chinedu Ahanonu led the charge with 12 total tackles and a forced fumble.
SUU’s secondary may have been overshadowed by the front seven’s dominance against the run game, but they performed well too. Senior safety Tyler Collet had a diving interception and freshman cornerback Jalen Russell intercepted a ball that sealed the victory for the Thunderbirds.
The Thunderbird offense was headlined by the performance sophomore running back James Felila. Felila ran the ball 21 times, picking up 96 yards and two touchdowns.
Sacramento State (1-2) will be playing their third consecutive home game this Saturday. In week three the Hornets fell behind early and couldn’t come back as they dropped a 31-24 decision against Weber State.
Their quarterback, Kevin Thomson, has struggled with his accuracy this year, having only completed 44 percent of his passes thus far. He does, however, minimize his mistakes. Thomson has only thrown one interception compared to six touchdowns.
The Hornet defense has been relentless in terms of takeaways. They’ve forced nine turnovers, including seven interceptions. Leading the group is defensive back Dre Terrell who has already recorded four interceptions.
The game kicks off at 7 p.m. MST and can be viewed on Pluto TV-Ch. 233 or listened to on KSUB 590.
Aaron Peterson for SUU News