CEDAR CITY, Utah – The homecoming football game is a time-held tradition for SUU, but this year the matchup takes on a whole new meaning.
The football team is enduring just their second 0-5 start in the last 30 years, and T-Bird nation is desperate for the team to get their first win. To add more fuel to their fire, the Thunderbirds will take on Sacramento State, who beat SUU 54-27 last year.
SUU has won their last three homecoming games, a streak Thunderbird fans are hopeful to maintain.
This year’s homecoming game is critical for Head coach Demario Warren and the T-Birds, as it is the team’s first home game since the skid began in Week 1 against North Alabama.
Home field advantage has been essential to the T-Birds success in recent years. Over the last three years, the T-Birds are 14-3 in Eccles Coliseum.
“We’re hoping they’re coming because they know we need them to help us get off this losing streak,” Warren said. “I’m excited to get back in front of our crowd. They’re some of the best in the country.”
Last year, Sacramento State quarterback Kevin Thompson torched SUU for seven total touchdowns. Shutting down Thompson will be key to the T-Birds’ success.
“We know what he can do, that’s for sure,” Warren said. “It ain’t like it’s going to be a shock this year. Yeah, he embarrassed us last year.”
The defense will focus on stopping the elusive Thompson, and putting up some points of their own.
This Saturday will mark the first start at home for quarterback Aaron Zwahlen.
Zwahlen is going into his third start for the team, but each of his starts, as well as his second half appearance against Northern Arizona, has come on the road.
Sacramento State is also 0-2 in conference play. Both teams’ hopes will be heavily impacted by this weekend’s result. A 1-2 start to conference play is not insurmountable, but an 0-3 start might be.
Every person around the team is conscious of the losing streak. Everyone is frustrated. There is one thing on everyone’s mind, and that is winning.
“Mainly, I just want to get a win,” said senior linebacker Taylor Nelson.
When asked if the team will win this weekend, linebacker Chinedu Ahanonu simply replied:
“Of course. Go Birds!”
T-Bird Nation is hopeful that the team will turn things around, and there’s no better time than the present.
Story by: Connor Sanders
Photo by: Easton Bowring