CEDAR CITY — The Southern Utah football team lost its home opener Saturday afternoon as the Idaho State Bengals kicked a game-winning field goal with five seconds left to win 26-24.
“It is crushing to see our guys lose like that two weeks in a row,” head coach Demario Warren said after the game. “I just want to thank God that I have an amazing group of guys. It has been a pleasure to work with them the last six months. It just kills me.”
The Thunderbirds are now 0-2 on the season but haven’t lost by more than two points in either game. The T-Birds lost 34-33 at Northern Arizona on Feb. 27 to open the spring season.
SUU quarterback Justin Miller threw for 232 yards and two touchdowns. Dayne Christiansen was the leading rusher for the T-Birds rushing for 80 yards on three attempts including a 69-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Landen Measom was the leading receiver for the Thunderbirds with four catches for 75 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown also in the third quarter.
La’akea Kaho’ohanohano-Davis had 12 total tackles on the day with eight of them being solo. He had three tackles for loss including a solo sack and a forced fumble. Jayden Clark finished with nine tackles and Francis Bemiy had eight, with a six-yard sack.
The Thunderbirds were the only team to score in the opening quarter as Manny Berz kicked a 26-yard field goal to make it 3-0 SUU.
Idaho State tied things up with a 22-yard field goal of their own at the 10:56 mark in the second quarter. They were also the first team to score a touchdown as Tyler Vander Waal threw a 19-yard score to Jeff Harris to make it 10-3 Bengals heading into halftime.
The T-Birds came out and scored their first touchdown of the game on their first drive of the second half as Miller threw a 45-yard pass to Measom to tie things up 10-10.
Idaho State scored another touchdown with just over two minutes remaining in the quarter to make it 17-10, but the Thunderbirds answered immediately as Christiansen scored a 69-yard touchdown on just the second play of their drive.
The fourth quarter started with the teams tied at 17-17.
The Bengals scored another touchdown, but missed the point-after attempt, putting them on top 23-17. With 3:38 to play, Miller threw his second touchdown of the day, this time a 16-yard pass to Judd Cockett to take a 24-17 lead.
Idaho State drove down the field on the ensuing drive and with eight seconds left to play were set up for a 30-yard field goal. ISU’s Kevin Ryan kicked it through the uprights as the clock kicked down to :05 to make it 26-24 Bengals.
The Thunderbirds had one last play to try and score, but couldn’t get it done as the clock expired, giving the Bengals the victory.
For full box score and game stats, visit the team’s website.
Southern Utah will be on the road next week, taking on Cal Poly on March 13 in San Luis Obispo, California.
Written by SUU ATHLETICS COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT.
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