Offensive outburst propels SUU to big win over Idaho State

Southern Utah University quarterback Chris Helbig confronts an Idaho State defender, Cedar City, Utah, Oct. 26, 2019 | Photo courtesy of SUU Athletics, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — The Southern Utah University Thunderbirds football team scored a season-high 59 points on Saturday afternoon at Eccles Coliseum to pick up their second win of the season over the Idaho State Bengals, 59-34.

With the win, the T-Birds are now 2-7 on the season and 1-4 in the Big Sky Conference.

“I’m just thankful and grateful for the team I have,” SUU head coach Demario Warren said. “It was hard to lose that many games in a row, losing at home and the guys came out and had a tremendous week of practice. I felt the maturity really start to grow, they want to finish the season the right way.”

The Thunderbirds started red hot.

After an interception by Carlton Johnson on ISU’s first offensive play, the Thunderbirds punched it in the end zone as Lance Lawson broke across the goal line from seven yards away.

Idaho State scored a touchdown on their  next possession, but the Thunderbirds automatically responded with another score as Carlos Baker took one into the end zone from 55 yards away to put SUU up 14-7.

SUU’s third touchdown was set up by a blocked punt, and two plays later quarterback Chris Helbig broke into the end zone from seven yards away to put SUU up 21-7.

The Thunderbirds scored again on their next drive, after Nela Otukolo put them in solid position with the team’s second interception, as Thomas Duckett ran it in from 22 yards away to push SUU ahead 28-7.

After the Bengals scored again with 51 seconds left in the quarter, the wild opening quarter came to a close with SUU ahead 28-14.

The second quarter was a kicking contest, as the Bengals put home two field goals and the Thunderbirds got one, leaving the score 31-20 at the half.

The third quarter belonged to the Thunderbirds, as Karris Davis and Cody Frampton both broke into the end zone for the Thunderbirds to extend their lead to 45-20.

Helbig finished the day with 20 completions for 268 yards and four touchdowns.

On the ground, Duckett had 91 yards and one touchdown. James Felila had 11 carries for 76 yards.

Defensively, Francis Bemiy led the team with eight tackles. Alex Sims had seven tackles. The T-Birds finished the day with three interceptions and five tackles for loss.

The Thunderbirds will be back on the field next weekend to take on the Montana State Bobcats in Bozeman.

Written by BRYSON LESTER, SUU Athletics

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!