The No. 17/23 Thunderbird football team knocked off the Fighting Hawks of North Dakota on Saturday night at Eccles Coliseum, claiming a 47-21 victory to move to 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the Big Sky Conference.
The Thunderbirds finished the game with 494 yards of offense and turned the Fighting Hawks over on four different occasions.
“We’re trying to get better each and every week, and I thought we took a step forward, especially on offense,” SUU head coach Demario Warren said. “We were trying to put four quarters together and I thought we did that.”
This was Southern Utah’s fifth victory in a row. The T-Birds are now 13-1 at home in the last three seasons.
The Thunderbirds struck first on Saturday night, as James Felila broke into the end zone after a 75-yard drive from the Thunderbirds.
The T-Birds struck on back-to-back drives in the opening frame, when Jay Green Jr. got into the end zone after a seven-play, 89-yard drive from the T-Birds.
The Fighting Hawks got on the board before the end of the first quarter with a John Santiago 63-yard run to make the score 13-7.
The Thunderbirds wasted little time in the second quarter getting more points on the scoreboard, as Green Jr. capped off a 75-yard drive with a three yard touchdown run.
After a long drive from the Fighting Hawks, Thunderbird quarterback Patrick Tyler connected with Alex Croyle on a 13-yard pitch and catch to go ahead 27-14. That would remain the score going into the halftime break.
The Fighting Hawks scored a touchdown on the opening drive of the second half, but the Thunderbirds were quick to respond. After a fumble recovery by Taylor Nelson on UND’s next drive, the T-Birds scored again on the back of Green Jr. from five yards out to make the score 34-21.
After a Jarmaine Doubs Jr. interception on UND’s next drive, the T-Birds scored again on a 51-yard run by Terrance Beasley to move ahead 40-21.
The Thunderbirds scored their final points with 10:10 left on the clock when Tyler found Croyle for the second time in the contest to put SUU up 47-21.
Tyler finished with 310 yards through the air on Saturday, completing 30 passes to 11 different receivers. He had two touchdowns through the air. Green Jr. ran for 62 yards, and broke into the end zone on three different occasions. In total, the T-Birds scored five times on the ground.
“Going in we knew they had a pretty good run defense and we stressed being able to pass the ball, that was a huge key,” Tyler said.
Mike Needham led the T-Birds with eight tackles on Saturday, one of which were for a loss. SUU finished with three interceptions with one from Doubs, Tyler Collet and Siddique Newkirk.
Moving forward the Thunderbirds will be back in the Golden State next Saturday for a matchup with UC Davis. That game will kick off at 5 p.m. MT in Davis, California.
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Read all about the Thunderbirds on suutbirds.com.
SUU Athletics Strategic Communications