After dropping their fifth game of the Spring 2021 season in the final minutes, the Southern Utah University football team will host Northern Arizona University in the last battle of the 2021 spring season.
The T-Birds hosted Weber State University last weekend and jumped out to an early lead thanks to a blocked punt returned for a touchdown by La’akea Kaho’ohanohano-Davis.
The Wildcats hung around throughout the game, never letting the T-Bird lead increase beyond seven points. Weber State eventually tied the game 16-16 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and then punched home a 19-yard field goal with 10 minutes remaining to take a 19-16 lead.
The T-Bird defense forced multiple stops and Weber State lined up to punt the ball back to the T-Birds with just 50 seconds remaining, but an illegal substitution penalty gave Weber State an automatic first down and the Wildcats were then able to run out the clock.
SUU’s run game continues to be a sore spot for an otherwise potent SUU offense.
The T-Birds have the third-best offense in the conference, averaging 272.4 yards per game while quarterback Justin Miller continues to lead the Big Sky in pass efficiency (150.7). Miller is also boasting the third most pass yards per game with 272.4. Brandon Schenks leads the conference in touchdowns with six.
Dayne Christiansen is the T-Birds leading rusher with 194 total yards on the season, but is averaging less than 39 total yards per game. The T-Birds as a whole average just 89.8 yards per game on the ground, last in the big sky and 137 yards behind the No. 1 ranked University of California – Davis.
NAU is coming to Cedar City with the No. 7 ranked scoring offense in the Big Sky, averaging just 23.3 points per game.
On the season, NAU has only made it to the endzone eight times, but much of this is due to having two games this season canceled due to COVID-19 protocols.
The Lumberjacks ranked fourth in the Big Sky in rushing yards per game with 136.0 and fifth in passing yards per game with 238.3.
Draycen Hall is leading the Lumberjacks in rushing with 63.7 yards per game, but has only found the endzone once this season.
Stacy Chukwmezie is the Lumberjacks first option in the air, averaging 56.7 yards per game on nearly four receptions per game.
Quarterback Keondre Wudtee has thrown for just two touchdowns on the season and is averaging 180 yards through the air per game. Wudtee is throwing at an efficiency level of 119.0.
On the other side of the ball, Morgan Vest leads Northern Arizona in tackles per game with 9.7, which is also good for fourth in the Big Sky.
Kam Hightower also has one interception this season, which he returned for a touchdown in the Lumberjacks first game of the season against the Thunderbirds.
Carson Taylor is second in the Big Sky in sacks per game with .67.
On the other hand, NAU commits the third least amount of penalties per game in the Big Sky and only loses an average 46.3 yards per game in penalties.
Story by: Kelton Jacobsen
Photo courtesy of SUU Athletics Strategic Communication