CHENEY, Wash. — The Thunderbird football team fell to the No. 4/5 Eagles of Eastern Washington on the road Saturday afternoon 55-17. The loss moves the T-Birds to 0-5 on the season and 0-2 in Big Sky Conference play.
“Obviously not the result we wanted, we came out here to win a football game and we’re not playing well enough to beat any top level team like Eastern Washington,” SUU head coach Demario Warren said. “We’re not good enough, and that starts and ends with me. We’ve got to find a way to get better as a football team and that starts on Sunday all over again.”
Hitting the field without starting quarterback Gage Gubrud, the Eagles struck quickly to start the contest and built a 14-0 lead with 7:39 to play in the opening quarter.
The Thunderbirds eventually got on the board with a 42-yard Manny Berz field goal with 1:33 to play in the first frame.
In the second quarter the Eagles continued to build their lead, and built a 24-3 advantage with 13:17 left in the first half following a fumble recovery in the endzone.
The T-Birds bounced back on their next drive, however, as Aaron Zwahlen found Ty Rutledge with a pass to the corner of the endzone to cut the Eagle lead to 14.
Eastern Washington would add another touchdown and field goal before the end of the first half and took a 34-10 advantage into the halftime break.
As the second half got started the Eagles didn’t slow down, and scored three touchdowns on three consecutive drives to take a 55-17 lead.
With 25 seconds remaining in the third quarter the Thunderbirds were able to get back on the scoreboard, as Jay Green Jr. charged into the endzone to make the score 55-17 in favor for the Eagles.
Unfortunately for the Thunderbirds, that’d be the last time they’d score in the contest. But they also held the Eagles scoreless to end of the contest at 55-17.
Zwahlen finished the contest 30-of-48 passing with 296 yards in the air and a touchdown. Ty Rutledge caught seven of those passes for 93 yards and a touchdown. Landen Measom and Daniel Bell both caught five passes for SUU.
On the ground Jay Green Jr. rushed 30 times for 103 yards and a touchdown.
Chinedu Ahanonu led the team with 10 total tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. Jordan Walker finished with nine total tackles.
The Thunderbirds will return home next weekend for the first time in over a month, as they’ll host the Hornets of Sacramento State.
“A home game after such a long stretch of road games definitely is a sigh of relief,” Green Jr. said. “Having a home game is really going to help us as a team to gain confidence. We’re going to be on our home field, have home field advantage, and have our fans behind us.”
Story and Photo Courtesy of: SUU Athletics Strategic Communication