ST. GEORGE — The Southern Utah Thunderbirds took on the No. 23 ranked Aggies of UC Davis Saturday. After a slow three quarter of football for SUU, they made a final push in the fourth quarter but it wasn’t enough to complete the comeback. The Thunderbirds lost the game 33-25.
“That’s a tough locker room to go into afterwards,” SUU head coach Demario Warren said. “Don’t play well for three quarters, then turn it on and make it a one-score game. Disappointing loss and it is frustrating. It’s not indicative of the work that these guys are putting in. As a head coach, it’s all on you.”
UC Davis started off the game with 26 unanswered points, but SUU broke the seal and scored a touchdown on a Lance Lawson three-yard run with 10 minutes left in the first half. Davis led 26-7 going into the locker room at halftime.
The only score of the third half was a Niko Harris four-yard touchdown run for the Aggies which would make the score 33-7 going into the fourth.
“I thought they came out and played really well,” Warren said. “I think they’re a really good football team, especially offensively, and they came out and executed. That’s not the game we wanted to be in. If we could get a lead we could run the ball, and we weren’t able to do that enough.”
This is when the Thunderbirds would turn it on, scoring a quick touchdown on a Jay Green run with 13:10 left in the game, and another on from Green with 8:53 left. The SUU defense made a stand and held the Aggies to no fourth-quarter scores.
After the two touchdowns, SUU was only down 11 with under seven minutes left on the clock. UC Davis decided to try and keep possession of the ball, so they went for it on fourth down with a little over six minutes on the clock. The SUU defense made a huge stand and got the ball back.
The momentum began to swing for the Thunderbirds, but just two plays into the possession, a Chris Helbig interception would suck some of the energy out of the team and the fans.
The defense came back out on to the field and forced a three and out to give the ball back to the SUU offense. The Thunderbirds would get a field goal from Manny Berz to end the drive. They were only down eight with about a minute left, and the onside kickoff was expected.
Davis was able to field the onside kick, and the game was over.
Landon Measom played a big role for SUU on offense, finishing the game with 11 receptions and 156 receiving yards. Warren said it was great having Measom back, who was out with injury till the Weber State game.
“It doesn’t really matter for me, personal stats,” Measom said. “I could have zero catches, three drops, and if we come away with the win that’s all that matters.”
The story of the game was the late effort by the Thunderbirds, who scored 17 unanswered in the fourth quarter to try and get a comeback win.
“The only thing I’ve ever done is continue to work,” Warren said. “I don’t think anything is going to change because we’ve only won two of the last whatever. I’m going to try and get a goodnight’s sleep and wake up early, get back to work. It’s hard to see our guys work so hard and not have the success.”
Next week SUU will take on Idaho State at home with kickoff scheduled for 2:05 p.m.
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