by Spencer Rodak
The Southern Utah University football team came from behind to clinch a victory over No. 8 Eastern Washington in Cedar City on Saturday night.
EWU got things started quickly, when just about three minutes into the game, Eagles quarterback Gage Gubrud threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Nsimba Webster, giving Eastern Washington an early 7-0 lead.
The Eagles scored again with two minutes to go in the opening quarter via a Sam McPherson 3-yard touchdown run, taking a 14-0 lead into the 2nd quarter.
SUU got on the board with just over five minutes to go in the opening half, when Jay Green Jr. broke through from a yard out for a touchdown, and converted the two-point conversion on the following play, cutting the deficit to 14-8.
EWU scored on the very next play, returning the kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown and increasing their lead to 21-8.
The Thunderbirds scored once more before halftime, with a minute-and-a-half to go when running back James Felila ran into the endzone from eight yards out cutting the Eastern Washington lead to 21-15.
SUU took its first lead of the game with 6:24 to go in the third quarter when quarterback Patrick Tyler threw an 8-yard strike to Landen Measom, putting the Thunderbirds on top, 22-21.
SUU added to the lead with a 43-yard field goal from kicker Manny Berz at the end of the third quarter, extending the lead to 25-21 heading into the fourth.
Eastern Washington regained the lead four minutes into the fourth quarter when Antoine Custer ran into the endzone from two yards out, giving the Eagles a 28-25 lead.
Four minutes later, the Thunderbirds took a 32-28 lead via a Logan Parker 26-yard touchdown catch from Patrick Tyler. SUU scored again with just over six minutes to go when Tyler threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Landen Measom, extending the Thunderbirds lead to 39-28.
SUU iced the game with 1:25 remaining, when James Felila ran four yards for a touchdown and clinched the 46-28 upset victory for the Thunderbirds.
With the victory, SUU improves to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in Big Sky play. The win gave the Thunderbirds their third straight victory, and third this season against nationally-ranked opponents.
The Thunderbirds were led on offense by Patrick Tyler who completed 22 of 33 passes and threw three touchdowns. James Felila led the SUU rushing attack with 143 yards on 27 carries, adding two touchdowns. Landen Measom added 57 yards receiving and two touchdowns on eight catches for the Thunderbirds.
The SUU defense forced three turnovers in the game, and Mike Needham registered 10 tackles for the Thunderbirds.
SUU resumes play next Saturday, October 28, traveling to Greeley, Colorado to take on the Northern Colorado Bears at 12:30 p.m. The game can be viewed on Pluto TV, channel 241 and heard on the radio on KSUB 590 AM.