Homecoming Week is over for Southern Utah University, and it may be a good thing as far as athletics go. The football team lost their home opener to Eastern Washington University in a 50-21 blowout to cap off the week’s athletics.
The game got out of hand quickly when SUU’s defense forced a three and out on Eastern Washington’s opening drive, but the Eagles were able to convert on a fake punt that set up an Efton Chism III touchdown that put EWU up 7-0.
The Thunderbirds had a chance to swing momentum back in their favor after two goal line stops in a row that prevented the Eagles from going up two scores, but SUU immediately gave up a safety to give Eastern Washington a 9-0 lead.
SUU drove the ball down the field on their next drive as quarterback Justin Miller connected with receivers Judd Cockett and Ethan Bolingbroke to set up a two-yard touchdown from David Moore III to bring the Thunderbirds within two points.
In the second quarter, Eastern Washington quarterback Eric Berriere caught fire and absolutely shredded SUU’s zone defense as he led the Eagles to three more touchdowns before halftime. The Thunderbirds were only able to score once in that quarter, going into the break 30-14.
Facing such a large deficit, the Thunderbirds were forced to abandon the run game and unsuccessfully try to catch up. Their defense continued to give up big plays through the air while their offense was never able to find consistency.
In total, SUU’s defense gave up 18 yards per catch for a total of 554 passing yards on the night. The good news is, aside from long quarterback scrambles from Berriere, the Thunderbirds’ run defense looked solid. They routinely shut down EWU’s ground game with impressive plays from standout linebacker La’a Kaho’ohanohano-Davis as he led the team with 11 total tackles and a sack.
The Thunderbirds’ next game is Saturday, Oct. 2 when the 1-3 Portland State University Vikings come to Cedar City. This game should be a good chance for SUU to get back on track and improve their 0-1 conference record.
Story By: Christian Esparza Sports@suunews.net
Photo Courtesy of SUU Athletics