The Thunderbird football team won their first Big Sky Conference game of the season on Saturday, knocking off the Mustangs of Cal Poly 20-14 in front of 10,633 fans at Eccles Coliseum.
“I’m proud of the guys, they fought all game,” SUU head coach Demario Warren said. “Cal Poly’s a tough team, we knew they were going to be a tough out, they don’t give up, they’re going to stay in the game and make you win the game.”
Southern Utah has moved to 3-2 on the season, with a 1-1 mark in the Big Sky Conference moving forward into the conference campaign.
The Thunderbirds struck first, as freshman kicker Manny Berz knocked home a 26-yard field goal attempt to put the T-Birds up 3-0. The Mustangs quickly responded, as Kyle Lewis ran 73 yards for a touchdown to put the Mustangs up 7-3.
On SUU’s next drive, the Thunderbirds would get on the board again as Janiero Green Jr. ran the ball in from 55 yards out to take a 10-7 advantage.
There was only one more score in the opening half, and it belonged to Terrance Beasley as he caught a ball from Patrick Tyler 26 yards out to put the Thunderbirds up 17-7 heading into halftime.
“It’s not really explainable, it’s just a rush,” Beasley said about his first career touchdown catch as a Thunderbird.
Following a scoreless third quarter of action, things got close down the stretch.
With 7:41 to play the T-Birds hit another field goal, this time from 36 yards away, and Berz put the T-Birds up 20-7.
The Mustangs scored with 4:46 left, cutting the Thunderbird lead to 20-14. Cal Poly had a couple more opportunities down the stretch, but the Thunderbird defense was able to hold them and claim the victory 20-14.
Tyler threw for 223 yards and one touchdown on 23 completions. Green Jr. carried the ball 77 yards for one touchdown. Bryan Beckon caught four passes for 64 yards.
Chinedu Ahanonu finished the night with 15 tackles to lead the way for the Thunderbirds. He also had 1.5 tackles for loss. Chance Bearnson had nine tackles on the night and Mike Needham had eight.
“It was fun being out there, flying around and making plays,” Ahanonu said.
The Thunderbirds had 382 yards of total offense on Saturday.
The Thunderbirds will be back on the road next weekend, as they’ll travel North up I-15 to take on the Wildcats of Weber State. That game is scheduled to kick off at 6:00 p.m.
SUU Athletic Strategic Communications