From SUU ATHLETICS STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION
PHOTO COURTESY OF ANITA BUNKER
DAVIS, Calif. – The No. 15/19 Thunderbird football team (8-2, 6-1 Big Sky Conference) won their sixth-straight game on Saturday evening against the Aggies of UC Davis by a final score of 47-27.
This result marks the first time that the Thunderbirds have won eight games in a season against all Division I opponents. It also ties the most wins the Thunderbirds have had in a season since transitioning to Division I.
“I’m just proud of the way the guys came out,” SUU head coach Demario Warren said after picking up a victory at his alma mater. “They came out and started fast, which we have to do on the road on Senior Night at Davis’ place. That’s a good football team we just beat.”
After not being able to score on their opening offensive drive, the Thunderbirds got a defensive score immediately after as Jarmaine Doubs Jr. picked off Jake Maier in the endzone to put the Thunderbirds up 7-0.
“I knew what it was, I knew what they were going to do, so I just jumped it,” Doubs said about his interception.
SUU extended their lead as the first quarter started to wind down, as Patrick Tyler found Dawson Pedersen for his first career touchdown on a shovel pass. This score put the Thunderbirds up 14-0.
The Thunderbirds struck again with 10:30 to play in the second quarter when Jay Green Jr. scored his eighth touchdown of the season to push the Thunderbirds ahead 21-0.
The Aggies got on the board late in the first half, as Maier found Wesley Preece to cap a 98-yard drive that cut the Thunderbird lead to 14.
Before the end of the half, the Thunderbirds would tack on a Manny Berz field goal and a safety on a blocked punt by Alan Holston to take a 26-7 lead into the break.
Jay Green broke into the end zone for the second time in the third quarter, as he rushed in from 14 yards out to put SUU up 34-7. After the Aggies scored their second touchdown of the contest, the Thunderbirds struck again when Tyler found Ty Rutledge for his first touchdown of the season to put SUU up 40-14.
UC Davis struck again just 51 seconds into the final quarter, but two drives later Tyler hit Rutledge again, this time from 75 yards away, to put SUU up 47-21.
The Aggies got on the board as time expired, leaving the Thunderbirds with a 47-27 victory in Davis.
Tyler finished the night with 26 completions for 370 yards and three touchdowns.
“I honestly feel like this was the best game we’ve had as far as the whole offense getting involved,” Tyler said. “Going into halftime everyone was talking, so involved and having fun. And it shows.”
He found Landen Measom six times over the course of the evening, and found Rutledge three times for 105 yards. Green Jr. ended up rushing 18 times for 64 yards and two touchdowns.
Rutledge said he feels like a weight has been lifted off his shoulders getting his two touchdowns on Saturday, but isn’t satisfied yet.
“I still feel like I have a lot more to do this year,” he said.
Tyler Collet led the Thunderbirds in tackles with 10. Both Doubs and Taelin Webb picked off a pass for the Thunderbirds. For Webb that was his first career interception.
The victory sets up a contest with Northern Arizona at home on Saturday. If the T-Birds win they will clinch an automatic birth to the NCAA FCS Playoff. Tickets for Southern Utah’s final regular season home game can be purchased online at tbirdtickets.com or at the America First Event Center Ticket Office.