The Eagles were ranked No. 1 and had lofty credentials as a consistently good team that made deep runs in the FCS playoffs. The T-Birds, who were among the four newest members of the Big Sky Conference, could have cared less on that day.
When Colton Cook nailed a 36-yard field goal with three seconds remaining, it was a message heard loud and clear by the rest of the league. SUU wasn’t about to let itself be taken lightly.
Nearly five years later, the result was more of the same, even as the Eagles came to town a few notches lower in the polls. Thanks to a 21-point explosion over the final 7:39, the T-Birds beat Eastern Washington again.
Adding to the significance of Saturday night’s effort, Southern Utah beat a ranked team for the third time- – Northern Iowa was No. 18 and Weber State was No. 16 – this season. Head coach Demario Warren couldn’t recall a time when that happened.
When asked if SUU would be ranked when the new FCS poll was released Monday, he offered a caveat.
“The teams we beat will probably be ahead of us,” Warren said.
In both of last week’s polls (coaches and Stats Top 25), the Wildcats were ranked 23rd while the Panthers had more points among other schools that received votes than the T-Birds.
Such is life sometimes, but as long as SUU keeps winning, it’s all that matters to them.
-Elsewhere on campus, it looks like the Southern Utah women’s soccer team will miss the postseason for the ninth consecutive year. They had their fate squarely in their hands after an Ally Thimsen first-half goal held up for a 1-0 road win over Northern Arizona in Flagstaff on Oct. 20, but couldn’t find the net at all in a 4-0 loss at Sacramento State.
The T-Birds have finished the regular season with a 4-6 mark in Big Sky play, good for 12 points in a four-way tie for fifth place through Sunday. The bad news: the Hornets, Lumberjacks and North Dakota are in the logjam with SUU and still have one game left to play Friday.
Because the Fighting Hawks and Hornets both have victories over the Thunderbirds, they own the head-to-head tiebreaker and would advance regardless of outcome. Only six teams will make the tournament at league champ Eastern Washington that starts Nov. 1.
-Cedar High’s basketball programs will be conducting youth basketball clinics for boys and girls from kindergarten through 5th grade. Each clinic will be held over six Wednesdays (except for Thanksgiving Week) starting Nov. 4 at the following times:
9 to 10 a.m. for boys kindergarten and first grade.
10 to 11 a.m. for boys second and third grade.
11 a.m. to Noon for boys fourth and fifth grade.
Noon to 1 p.m. for girls kindergarten through second grade only.
Cost of the camp is $40 per child and signups will be taken on the first day of each camp. For more information, contact Russ Beck at email@example.com for the boys or Corry Nielsen at firstname.lastname@example.org for the girls.
-And if you’re feeling any stress as you go about your day, take a look at this picture of SUU football player Mike Needham and his baby girl, Millie. Even in the moment where other things get in the way, we can all take a moment to recognize how important family is.
Follow Tom Zulewski on Twitter @TommyZee81 or email email@example.com.