by Spencer Rodak
The SUU Thunderbirds football team came away with a 20-14 win over Cal Poly, their first in Big Sky Conference play, Saturday night in front of a record-breaking 10,633 fans at Eccles Coliseum.
SUU (3-2, 1-1 BSC) took an early 3-0 lead courtesy of a Manny Berz 26-yard field goal with just under 8 minutes to play in the first quarter.
Cal Poly (0-6, 0-3 BSC) responded quickly on the next series, with Kyle Lewis breaking free for a 73-yard touchdown run that put the Mustangs up 7-3.
On SUU’s next drive, the Thunderbirds regained the lead as Janiero Green Jr. ran 55 yards into the endzone for a touchdown and a 10-7 lead with under five minutes to play in the opening quarter.
The Thunderbirds scored one more time in the first half courtesy of a Patrick Tyler pass to Terrance Beasley from 26 yards out, putting SUU up 17-7 heading into the half.
After no points for either side in the third quarter, things got more interesting in the fourth.
With just under eight minutes to play, Manny Berz kicked a field goal from 36 yards out, extending the SUU lead, 20-7.
With 4:46 remaining, the Mustangs’ Broc Mortensen ran 5 yards for a score, cutting the Thunderbirds lead to 20-14. Cal Poly had more chances near the end to win the game, but the SUU defense held up and gave the Thunderbirds a hard-fought victory.
Patrick Tyler led SUU on offense, completing 23 of 30 passes for 223 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Janiero Green Jr. led the Thunderbirds on the ground, rushing for 77 yards on nine carries and adding a touchdown.
SUU was led on defense by Chinedu Ahanonu’s 15 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. Taylor Pili recovered 2 fumbles on defense in the win.
SUU plays next Saturday, October 14, traveling to Ogden to take on in-state rival Weber State. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m.