Football Preview: SUU Takes on Rivals Weber State

CEDAR CITY, Utah — The Southern Utah football team will attempt to salvage their season against the No. 3/4 ranked Weber State Wildcats on Saturday.

The Beehive Bowl is on the line, and the T-Birds are hoping for a win against the powerful Wildcats. The Wildcats (7-2) are undefeated against FCS competition, their two losses coming against FBS opponents Utah State and Utah.

SUU is in a tremendously rough patch. The T-Birds (1-8) have lost three straight, and are coming off of a 57-14 drubbing against Montana in Eccles Coliseum last Saturday.

Weber State is much better than Montana, but anything can happen in a rivalry game like this one. Last year the T-Birds beat Weber 32-16 in Ogden, but last year’s team went on to share the Big Sky conference championship. This year’s group hasn’t fared as well.

As with the previous weeks, eyes will be on the SUU defense. The Thunderbird defense has been unanimously bad this season, and the group gave up 635 yards and 57 points against Montana.

Unlike in the previous weeks, the offense looked unreliable as well. The offense has been ravaged by injuries, forcing the T-Birds to start four different quarterbacks this season.

Freshman Tyler Skidmore will be tasked with leading the offense against the Wildcats, facing one of the most resistant defenses in the Big Sky. Weber currently sits in first place in the Big Sky in total defense, allowing only 316 yards per game.

Skidmore didn’t look so great against the stingy Montana defense, throwing for only 138 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Over the last three games offensive coordinator Justin Walterscheid has implemented myriad trick plays and reverses, and they’ve worked.

Over the course of the season, SUU’s offense has been solid, good for fourth in the Big Sky with 439 yards per game, but Weber’s defense has been elite all season long, even holding offensive powerhouse Eastern Washington to just six points.

If there’s one area where the T-Birds might be able to take advantage , it may be on the defensive side of the football. The Wildcats are averaging under 300 yards of total offense per contest, and their rushing attack has been abysmal this season. It’ll be a battle of the Big Sky’s worst offense against the Big Sky’s worst defense.

Saturday night will also be senior night, and the last home game for 15 T-Birds. This rivalry game will mean a lot to each one of them. Anything can happen in a rivalry game. You never know what the energy of the two teams would be, but on paper Weber State looks to be the superior team by a wide margin.

“Weber is Weber, we’ve got to bring the juice,” SUU head coach Demario Warren said. “The guys who haven’t been here and experienced a Weber rivalry game need to come out and give it everything they’ve got. It’s the last chance to fight for something tangible. We’ve got a trophy on the line and it means a lot for our players when they play Weber so it really needs to pick up and we need to bring it.”

The game will be Saturday, Nov. 10 at 5 p.m. in Eccles Coliseum. Watch the game on Eleven Sports or on Pluto TV, channel 236. Listen to the game on KSUB 590 AM / ESPN 97.7 FM