The Thunderbirds (2-1; 4-2) will host No. 8 Eastern Washington (4-0; 5-2) on Saturday, Oct. 21 to celebrate Cedar City Night at the Eccles Coliseum. EWU claimed a 42-30 road victory in the last meeting between the schools in 2014.
SUU shut down No. 16 Weber State in week seven, not allowing a single offensive TD en route to a 32-16 road victory. The T-Bird defense held WSU to 250 total yards and the offense mounted 487 total yards. Junior tight end Logan Parker had 118 receiving yards and two TD and senior quarterback Patrick Tyler threw for 281 yards, three TD, and one interception. The Thunderbirds will look to keep their momentum rolling this Saturday against the top team in the Big Sky.
The T-Birds average 29.2 points per game this year which is the ninth best in the Big Sky. Patrick Tyler has 1,315 passing yards, 10 TD, and seven interceptions to go along with 208 rushing yards and two TD. Sophomore running back James Felila leads the rushing attack with 436 yards and five TD. Freshman Landen Measom is the leading receiver with 369 yards and two TD.
Defensively, the T-Birds rank eighth in the Big Sky in scoring defense. SUU has surrendered an average of 32.7 points per game. Although their statistics are less than impressive, the numbers are deceiving due to two bad games in which they gave up 77 and 54 points. Outside of those games, the T-Birds have given up an average of only 16.5 points per game.
Eastern Washington has arguably the best player in the Big Sky conference: junior quarterback Gage Gubrud. Gubrud has thrown for a gaudy 2,412 yards and 20 TD with eight interceptions. Gubrud also has four rushing TD on his impressive resume. His success has played a large role in making EWU the second highest scoring team in the Big Sky at 35.9 points per game. Junior wide receiver Nsimba Webster and senior wide receiver Nic Sblendorio have combined to reel in 98 receptions for 1,039 yards and six TD. Sophomore running back Antoine Custer Jr. has run for 384 yards and five TD.
The EWU defense has not performed as well as the offense. The Eagles have given up an average of 35.1 points per game, which ranks eleventh in the Big Sky. The defense ranks tenth in the conference in both passing and rushing defense, allowing an average of 276.3 and 206.1 yards respectively.
The game kicks off at 5 p.m. MST with a tailgate party beginning at 3 p.m. If you can’t make it out to the Eccles Coliseum, watch the game on Eleven Sports (channel 623 for DirecTV or channel 9794 for Dish Network). The game will also be streamed on Pluto TV. Audio will be available on KSUB 590.
Featured Photo Courtesy of SUU Athletic Strategic Communications