CEDAR CITY, Utah, Sept. 10 - Brad Sorensen completed 30-of-37 passes for 271 yards, Austin Minefee had a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and Deckar Alexander ran for 78 yards and two touchdowns as Southern Utah overcame an early deficit then rolled to a 35-14 win over No. 12 Sacramento State in their home-opener Saturday afternoon.
After a blocked punt gave the Hornets the ball at the SUU 44 yard line midway through the first quarter CSUS capitalized on the short field to take the lead on a 2-yard Bryan Hilliard.
The Thunderbirds pulled within 7-3 when Colton Cook kicked a 27-yard field goal at the 14:11 mark of the second period, then took the lead on a 12-yard Alexander run with 10:07 to go in the quarter.
The Hornets re-claimed the lead on a 1-yard Hilliard run with 3:39 to play in the half, but the advantage was short-lived as Austin Minefee took the ensuing kickoff 92 yards to put the Thunderbirds up 17-14. Southern Utah added a 36-yard Cook field goal at the end of the half to hold a 20-14 advantage at the break.
The second half was all Southern Utah, as the Thunderbird defense held the Hornets to just 125 yards while piling up 221 of their own. SUU scored twice in the second, on a 1-yard Minefee run with 11:49 to go in the third, and sealing the outcome with a 3-yard Alexander run witn 1:40 to go in the game.
SUU's defense gave up 3-of-3 fourth-down conversions in the first half but in the second half the Hornets were 0-2 on fourth down, both times in the fourth quarter, including once at the SUU 2-yard line following an 11-play, 67-yard drive.
Blake Fenn led Southern Utah's defense with 12 tackles, eight solo, while Chad Hansen had 10 tackles, including a tackle-for-loss. Tyler Osborn had five tackles, but three of them went for losses, including 1 ½ sacks, and he also had two quarterback hurries and recovered a fumble.
Southern Utah evened its record at 1-1 while CSUS, which upset Oregon State last week, dipped to 1-1.