In Southern Utah’s recent football history, there hadn’t been a season where they headed to conference play (Big Sky or Great West) on the heels of two wins against Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) schools.
That all changed Saturday night as the T-Birds beat Northern Iowa – who came in as the No. 18 team in the country – 24-21 on a Manny Berz field goal with under two minutes to play.
“Absolutely nothing,” he said. “We want to win the Big Sky, and we’re 0-0 right now. You can’t win the Big Sky by going 5-3.”
And with conference play beginning on the road at Sacramento State on Saturday night, the T-Birds know the feeling of what complacency and overconfidence can do.
In 2013, SUU finished 5-3 in Big Sky play after losing to Northern Arizona in the season finale. Somehow, they managed to get the call for the FCS playoffs for the first time.
In 2015, they won the Big Sky title for the first time, but a road loss at Portland State cost SUU a home game for the first round of the playoffs.
And of course, there was a little matter of losing that 22-point fourth-quarter lead at home last season to Weber State. The end result: the Wildcats reached the FCS playoffs, while the T-Birds did not.
SUU finished – you guessed it – 5-3 in the conference, yet had to stay home largely because of that defeat. If the T-Birds want to taste playoff success once again, the real work begins right now.
-Killebrew on MNF: For the second time in as many seasons, SUU graduate Miles Killebrew and the Detroit Lions appeared on Monday Night Football, this time against the New York Giants.
As a suffering fan of the team that has just one playoff win since 1957, there’s always reason for hope. We’re only two weeks into the 2017 NFL season, and it’s good to see the Lions are worthy of a place in the national spotlight at this early stage.
Later in the year, Detroit will be on Sunday Night Football on NBC on Oct. 29 at home against Pittsburgh, then a second MNF appearance on ESPN the following week at Green Bay to face the Packers at Lambeau Field.
Three national TV appearances plus an NFL Network Saturday special Dec. 16 at home against the Chicago Bears? With Killebrew on the roster, it’s a great time to at least try to be a Lions fan.
-A public service: In case you missed it over the last two weeks, ironcountytoday.com has published online the NFL games fans will be able to see on local television. It’s something that’s been needed here for a while since the main newspaper outlet in this area stopped the practice a long time ago.
Due to the fact this publication is only available in print on Wednesday, NFL fans can rest assured they’ll find the games they get to see on CBS (Channel 2) and Fox (Channel 13) each week. All they have to do is look online at ironcountytoday.com, and it will be there by the end of the day each Wednesday throughout the season.
One word of caution: the TV stations reserve the right to make last-minute changes, so it always helps to check your local listings – probably through each station’s web site – right up to game time.
Follow Tom Zulewski on Twitter @TommyZee81 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.