Arizona State Edges T-Birds….At 2 In The Morning
It took until just about two in the morning, but the Arizona State Sun Devils were able to hang on and prevail over the Southern Utah University Thunderbirds 24-21 in the season opener for both teams. The T-Birds were hoping to secure a first ever win over a power five conference.
In a press release from the team, head coach DeLane Fitzgerald said, “We are playing grown man football and there are no moral victories… We played nine percent of our schedule tonight nothing more nothing less…We have to use tonight as a building block for our team and we like our team. We didn't do enough to win the football game tonight, but we like our team and we like where we stand with 10 games to play. Our game plan offensively and defensively was really good tonight and it showed… We are a small mistake here and there from coming out of here with a win, but we don't lack heart on the team or coaching staff.”
ASU struck first scoring three minutes in to the contest when Cam Skattebo scampered in to the end zone from six yards out.
In the second quarter, the T-Birds tied the game when Targhee Lambson scored from 1 yard out capping off an 11 play, 62 yard drive. However the 7-7 tie was short lived. The Sun Devils quickly scored twice on two touchdown passes from true freshman quarterback Jaden Rahsada. ASU took a 21-7 lead in to the locker run for halftime.
Little did either team think they would spend the next two and a half hours. As the Sun Devils and Thunderbirds left the field, the real lightning and thunder took over in the skies. Regulations require the teams to stay off the field, and for that matter for spectators to leave the open stadium if lightning happens within eight miles of the stadium. They are not allowed to return until 45 minutes off no lightning strike with in that eight miles.
Finally, after midnight here in Cedar City, the teams resumed action.
When Play was finally resumed in the third quarter, The Thunderbirds immediately made a big defensive stop and forced the Sun Devils to punt. Southern Utah's Justin Miller then connected with Isaiah Wooden on a huge 52 yard play to set up Zach Mitchell for a 17 yard TD pass from Miller.
In the forth quarter Arizona State added a field goal to extend the lead to 24-14. The Sun Devils were playing tough defense, but it was the defense of the T-Birds that just about turned the tide.
At just under eight minutes left in the game, Jordan Washington broke through the ASU line to block a punt by the Sun Devils. The ball was picked up by SUU's George Ramirez who then ran the ball 47 yards for the touchdown.
That would be the last score of the game. ASU defense played firm the rest of the quarter to seal the 24-21 victory.
Next weekend, the Thunderbirds have another shot at a Power 5 opponent as they travel north to Provo to take on the BYU Cougars in their inaugural season in the Big 12. You can hear that game, Saturday, September 9th at 12:40pm on KSUB.