Game Preview: T-Birds to Take on Montana

The Thunderbirds will look to pick up their second win of the season after falling just short of a miraculous comeback against Northern Colorado with their 42-39 loss last weekend.

On Saturday, the Montana Grizzlies will come into the Eccles Coliseum looking to spoil SUU’s blackout game.

A Look at the T-Birds

SUU, at 1-7 and 1-4, is mathematically eliminated from playoff contention this season. However, the T-Birds can still go .500 in the Big Sky if they win their final three games.

The T-Bird defense has been problematic this season. SUU has allowed 41.2 points per game and given up 546 total yards per contest. The secondary has surrendered an average of 277 passing yards while the front seven have allowed 269 rushing yards per game.

However, SUU’s offense has been a strong part of the team this season, averaging 464 yards per game to go along with 28 points per contest. They’ve accumulated these numbers without their number one quarterback, Chris Helbig, who was injured in the Big Sky opener at Northern Arizona.

This week, SUU will likely be down to their fourth string quarterback, Tyler Skidmore. The true freshman came into last week’s contest against Northern Colorado after third-string Austin Ewing was injured early on. Skidmore would go on to complete 27 of 43 passes for 330 yards, with a touchdown and one interception.

“The first play was a successful play, and it boosted my confidence a lot,” Skidmore said about getting his first collegiate playing time. “After that, it was just going well. I had all the time in the world. We didn’t start fast enough, which has been the trend this whole season, but it was fun.”

Saturday will mark SUU’s fourth home game of the season. The T-Birds are 1-2 at home, with the two losses coming by four points or less.

A Look at the Grizzlies

Montana (4-4, 2-3) enters the game following a 49-21 home loss against UC Davis.

The Grizzly defense has given up an average of 30 points per game as well as 438 total yards per game. Montana has had better success against the run, allowing 190 yards per game. Against the pass they’ve given up 248 yards per contest.

Junior linebacker Dante Olsen has led the defense with 119 tackles, six sacks, three forced fumbles and two interceptions.

Montana’s offense has scored 30 points per game via an average of 410 total yards.

Junior quarterback Dalton Sneed has thrown for 1,826 yards, 12 TDs and seven interceptions this season. Sneed has also tallied 617 rushing yards and 5 TDs on the ground.

Kickoff for SUU versus Montana is at 1 p.m. with a tailgate party at 10:00 a.m. in the main parking lot. If you can’t make it to the game, watch it live on ROOT Sports or listen on KSUB 590 AM.

Aaron Peterson for SUU News
Photo by: Mitchell Quartz