“Battle Of The Axe” Set For Saturday
The final game of the 2023 season looms large for the Thunderbirds as they travel south to take on Utah Tech for a chance to earn a winning season. The "Battle for the Axe" will take place at Greater Zion Stadium in St. George on Saturday, November 18, 2023. The game will kick off at 5:00 p.m. and will be broadcast on KSUB.
The Thunderbirds are coming in hot off a 45-17 win at Stephen F. Austin. Their well-rounded approach in the game features a formidable ground game and a potent passing attack, rendering them a multifaceted threat to their adversaries. Supported by a sturdy defense, allowing just 24.50 points per game, the Thunderbirds have the ability to control the game on both sides of the ball. The T-Birds are riding their first three-game win streak in years and looking to finish the season with a victory over their rivals to the south.
In contrast, the Trailblazers have lost their last four games and struggled this season to a 2-8 record. Their passing game exhibits promise, with an average of 273 yards per game. While their defense concedes an average of 39.20 points per game. The Trailblazers fell to Austin Peay last week 17-30 on the road in Clarksville.
The Southern Utah Thunderbirds' offensive lineup has surged impressively throughout the conference play, marked by a well-balanced attack leading to a streak of high-scoring games. Notably, Braedon Wissler and Targhee Lambson have shone in rushing, with Wissler amassing 556 yards and Lambson delivering standout performances, notably securing three touchdowns and over 100 yards against ACU. These contributions have notably opened up opportunities in the passing game, led by quarterback Justin Miller, boasting an impressive 142.62 passer rating with 2,362 passing yards and 27 touchdowns. Miller has shattered several program records this season and eyes further records in passing and total yards.
The offensive starters for Utah Tech have showcased a balanced attack led by Ronnie Walker Jr. and Kobe Tracy. Walker Jr. leads the ground game with an impressive 552 net yards across 123 attempts, showcasing his ability to grind out yards at an average of 4.5 yards per carry. Additionally, Chris Street's explosive bursts have contributed significantly, averaging an impressive 6.3 yards per carry and accumulating 357 net yards, finding the end zone twice in his 57 attempts. Together, Walker Jr. and Street have formed a dynamic rushing duo, anchoring Utah Tech's ground attack and providing essential yardage.
Pre-game coverage on KSUB will start at 4:40PM
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Gallery Credit: Sterling Whitaker