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Southern Utah (0-0) at Nevada (0-0)
Noon (PT) • Chris Ault Field at Mackay Stadium • Reno, Nev.
Radio - KSUB AM 590 and www.suutbirds.com
Stream - nevadawolfpack.tv | themw.com | mwc app
Live Stats - suutbirds.com | nevadawolfpack.com
Thunderbird Football Set for Season Opener at Nevada
CEDAR CITY, Utah - Southern Utah University will open its 2014 season this Saturday when the Thunderbirds face the University of Nevada in Reno at 1:00 p.m. (MT). The game will mark the fifth consecutive year that the Thunderbirds have opened on the road.
SUU has also opened four of the last five season on the road against an FBS opponent, capturing a victory over South Alabama last season, 22-21, behind a game-winning field goal by Colton Cook. The Thunderbirds’ other results included losses at Utah State (34-3/2012) and at Wyoming (28-20/2010).
Southern Utah last played a season opener at home in 2009 where the Thunderbirds posted a 36-7 victory over Dixie State.
Fans can listen to the game on the radio at KSUB AM 590 or online at www.suutbirds.com. A free video stream will also be available online at nevadawolfpack.tv, themw.com or via the Mountain West Conference app on phones and tablets.
Nevada finished the 2013 season with an overall mark of 4-8, including a 3-5 record in the Mountain West Conference. The Wolfpack posted victories over UC Davis (36-7), Hawaii (31-9), Air Force (45-42) and San Jose State (38-16).
Nevada’s offense averaged 429.2 yards per game with 179 on the ground and 250.2 in the air. Leading rusher Kendall Brock returns for this senior year after amassing 812 yards and a team-best 10 touchdowns on the ground. Quarterback Cody Fajardo was second on the team with 621 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground while also throwing for 2,668 yards on 67.9 percent passing and 13 touchdowns.
Defensively, Nevada allowed opponents an average of 505.3 yards per game, including 258.5 yards rushing and 246.8 yards passing. Senior Brock Hekking led the Wolfpack in 2013 with nine sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss.
Last time against Nevada
Southern Utah and Nevada squared off in the season opener in 2003 with the Wolfpack coming away with a 24-23 victory. SUU’s Wes Patterson scored on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Casey Rehrer with 3:06 in the game, but the subsequent PAT was blocked as Nevada held on for the win.
Big Sky Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Eastern Washington (12) - 144
2. Montana (1) - 130
3. Montana State - 111
4. Cal Poly - 108
5. Northern Arizona - 100
6. Southern Utah - 89
7. Sacramento State - 79
8. Portland State - 71
9. UC Davis - 66
10. North Dakota - 34
11. Weber State - 30
12. Idaho State - 28
13. Northern Colorado - 23
Big Sky Preseason Media Poll
1. Eastern Washington (34) - 464
2. Montana (1) - 416
3. Montana State (1) - 364
4. Cal Poly - 329
5. Northern Arizona - 328
6. Southern Utah - 299
7. UC Davis - 228
8. Portland State - 227
9. Sacramento State - 222
10. Idaho State - 124
11. North Dakota - 121
12. Weber State - 103
13. Northern Colorado - 61
Southern Utah has eight players from the state of Nevada. Six hail from Las Vegas, one from Henderson and one from Fallon.
100 Years of Football
SUU is celebrating 100 years of football this season. The celebration includes a list of the top-100 football players over the past 100 years and can be found online at www.suutbirds.com.
SUU is 26-25 in season openers since moving to four-year status in 1963. The Thunderbirds snapped an eight-game losing streak in road openers last season when the team posted a 22-21 victory at South Alabama.
The T-Birds have opened on the road in nine of the past 10 seasons. Head coach Ed Lamb has an overall mark of 2-4 in season openers at the helm of the Thunderbird program.
Southern Utah will remain on the road next week when the Thunderbirds travel to Hammond, La. to face Southeastern Louisiana. The matchup with the Lions will mark the first of three games against 2013 FCS playoff qualifiers for SUU this season.
Against the FBS
SUU has faced 11 FBS opponents during head coach Ed Lamb’s tenure. Over that span the Thunderbirds have an overall mark of 3-8 with victories over UNLV (41-16/2011), Texas-San Antonio (45-22/2011) and South Alabama (22-21/2013).