By Tom Zulewski
As I was heading home Saturday night following the Parowan PRCA rodeo stop, I was curious to find out what the Southern Utah football team was up to in its rare home opener – the first one the T-Birds have enjoyed since 2009 – against FCS newbie North Alabama.
At the point I tuned in to the radio call, I got an impression something was going on. There was excitement in the voices of play-by-play man Art Challis and analyst Devin Dixon, but there was something missing.
The visitors from North Alabama were on the game’s final drive, but there was no mention of some key things.
We didn’t know where the ball was on the field, how much time was left, or what the score was. That’s not good when radio is involved.
I was able to finally decipher that North Alabama was only down by three points and that the game was in a simulcast with the online feed from Pluto TV. That’s all well and good, but not everyone was glued to a device that could provide pictures. Some of us needed the descriptive power that only comes from words said on the radio.
North Alabama ended up winning, but as things turned out, two ill-timed penalty flags on SUU took away potential game-ending interceptions in the end zone. It also distracted from what sounded like was a whale of an entertaining football game.
All weeping and wailing over the loss aside – there was no use crying over what might have been – the T-Birds aren’t dead. Not even close, and those plays didn’t cost them the victory.
Yeah, they’re heading on the road for four straight weeks – two games at Pac-12 schools (Oregon State, Arizona) followed by Big Sky battles at Northern Arizona and Eastern Washington – before they see the home field again, but there’s a reason this team has won two of the last three Big Sky football championships.
They know how to adjust and overcome challenges. After getting thrashed at Sacramento State in last year’s Big Sky opener, SUU didn’t lose again on the way to a share of the conference title.
As long as the defense finds ways to fit the schemes into the game plan for the best results – that means not surrendering 554 yards like it did to the Lions on Saturday, for starters – things will improve.
One loss should not wreck a season. One game at a time is cliché, but it’s the appropriate response to what happened so the team can move forward and get better.
-An ill-timed four-game losing streak has cost the Columbus Clippers a playoff berth as the regular season headed to its final day Monday, but Mitch Talbot more than did his part to keep the Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians in the hunt.
Talbot, who signed his minor-league deal in May, delivered solid numbers despite leaving with three no-decisions in his final three starts. The Canyon View grad finished his 16th season in professional baseball with a 4-5 record and a 2.52 ERA in 17 starts.
Talbot allowed only 29 earned runs and walked 22 in 103 2/3 innings of work since his return. With the season at an end, there was no official announcement of the right-hander getting a call-up to the big club as of Sunday night. Talbot turns 35 next month, so stay tuned as we wait word on his future plans.
Follow Tom Zulewski on Twitter @TommyZee81 or email email@example.com.