Thunderbirds Head to Texas to Take On SFA
CEDAR CITY, Utah - The Thunderbirds will continue their season with another United Athletic Conference matchup against Stephen F. Austin this Saturday, November 11, 2023. The game will be played in Nacogdoches Texas and will kickoff at 3:00 p.m. MT. The T-Birds will look to follow up their Senior Day victory with a road win against the Lumberjacks.
Southern Utah at Stephen F. Austin
Date: November 11th, 2023
Kickoff Time: 3:00 PM MT
Venue: Homer Bryce Stadium
Radio: KSUB 590
Coach DeLane Fitzgerald Said
"SFA is a good football program. They are the reigning conference champions...They are very well coached and they are one of the bigger teams in the conference."
"They are a big, fast, and athletic team. We will have to play our best to go down there (Nacogdoches, TX) and beat them."
The Thunderbirds are riding high on a dominant 35-6 victory over Lincoln University, highlighting their offensive prowess. Their well-rounded approach, featuring a formidable ground game and a potent passing attack, renders them a multifaceted threat to their adversaries. Supported by a sturdy defense, allowing a mere 25.33 points per game, they possess the potential to control both sides of the field. The T-Birds are riding back-to-back wins coming into this week's contest.
In contrast, the Lumberjacks have lost their last four games and struggled this season to a 3-6 record. Their passing game exhibits promise, with an average of 254 yards per game, enabling them to score just over 31 points per game. While their defense concedes an average of 29.78 points per game, they suffered a significant setback last week, losing to Tarleton State by a lopsided score of 59-17.
Key T-Birds to Watch:
The offensive lineup of the Southern Utah Thunderbirds has been coming on strong since the beginning of conference play. A balanced attack has contributed to three consecutive high-scoring contests. In the rushing department, Braedon Wissler and Targhee Lambson have stood out, with Wissler leading the way at 449 yards. Lambson has had a couple of breakout performances this season including a three-touchdown stat line against ACU where he rushed for over 100 yards. Their contributions have in turn opened up the passing game. Quarterback, Justin Miller, maintains an impressive passer rating of 137.44. Miller has already accumulated 2,139 passing yards and 23 touchdowns. This season Miller has broken various Southern Utah program records including passing attempts, total plays, and touchdown passes. He still could set the record for completions, passing yards, and total yards.
Isaiah Wooden has been the primary target for the Miller for the last two seasons. Wooden has racked up 734 receiving yards this season and 1,566 over his career as a T-Bird. Wooden Leads the team with nine touchdown receptions. Zach Mitchell and Timothy Patrick have also put up impressive stat lines. Patrick has 20 catches for 288 yards and four touchdowns, while Mitchell has hauled in 33 catches for 421 yards and four touchdowns. In all, nine different receivers have scored touchdowns this season. The Thunderbirds also have seven athletes with more than 100 yards receiving this season.
The Thunderbird defense has been led by several standout tacklers. Aubrey Nellems leads all T-Birds with 69 total takedowns while Kohner Cullimore and Trevon Gola-Callard are right behind him. Gola-Callard has tallied 63 tackles while Cullimore has added 56. The Thunderbirds have consistently shown their ability to disrupt opposing offenses. The defensive front has been led by graduate transfer defensive lineman Robert Horsey. Horsey has accumulated an impressive 38 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and nine tackles for a loss. Anisi Purcell leads the teams in sacks this season with four and has totaled 20 tackles on the season.
The secondary has been bolstered by safety George Ramirez and defensive back Cody Coleman, who have collectively contributed 66 tackles and provided crucial pass defense. Cornerback AJ Felton has emerged as a ballhawk, tallying a team-leading seven pass breakups and three interceptions. The Thunderbirds' defense has demonstrated that it can limit opposing offenses giving up just 108.4 yards per game of rushing. The Thunderbirds will look to continue to improve their defense against the Lumberjacks this week.
Scouting Stephen F. Austin
Let's delve into the offensive leaders for Stephen F. Austin, Brian Maurer (#7) has been the primary quarterback, playing in 8 games with a passer rating of 114.75. He completed 158 passes out of 277 attempts, with 8 interceptions, showcasing a 57.04% completion rate. He passed for 1,622 yards and 12 touchdowns, with a long pass of 57 yards. The Lumberjacks' receiving corps is led by Kylon Harris (#17), a standout player with 51 catches for 602 yards and 8 touchdowns in 9 games. Lawton Rikel (#6) contributes with 34 receptions for 382 yards and 1 touchdown, while Anthony Williams (#20) adds 20 receptions for 268 yards and 5 touchdowns. These receivers play a vital role in the Lumberjacks' passing game, providing reliable targets and scoring opportunities.
Jerrell Wimbley (#10) has been a standout performer, playing in 8 games. He has carried the ball 122 times, gaining 678 yards and scoring 6 touchdowns, with an impressive average of 5.4 yards per carry and a long run of 64 yards. Anthony Williams (#20) has also made a notable impact, featuring in 9 games and carrying the ball 100 times for 486 yards and 4 touchdowns, averaging 4.7 yards per carry, with a long run of 75 yards. Brian Maurer (#7) has played 8 games and contributed with 50 rushing attempts, resulting in 299 yards gained and 3 touchdowns, boasting an average of 4.8 yards per carry and a long run of 63 yards.
The defensive leaders for Stephen F. Austin have displayed their prowess on the field through impressive statistics. Jermaine Brown (#0) has been a standout, recording 63 total tackles, including 8.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. He has also contributed with 2 pass breakups, 3 quarterback hurries, and 2 forced fumbles. Aaron Sears (#13) has made a significant impact with 55 total tackles, while Luke Watson (#25) adds to the defensive strength with 55 total tackles, 9 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks. Additionally, Jeremiah Walker (#5) has accumulated 49 total tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 3 pass breakups. These defensive leaders have been instrumental in the team's defensive efforts.
Furthermore, the defense is bolstered by the contributions of Edward Bobino (#99), Aaron Austin (#38), Tkai Lloyd (#8), and Dylan Tooker (#9), each showcasing their abilities with tackles for loss, sacks, quarterback hurries, and forced fumbles. The collective efforts of this defensive unit have been vital in securing stops and creating turnovers, helping to strengthen Stephen F. Austin's defensive performance throughout the season.