Southern Utah 2013 FCS Football Playoff Capsule

Southern Utah Thunderbirds
Big Sky


After three-year starter Brad Sorenson graduated and the seventh round draft pick of the San Diego Chargers, success was not something many would have expected for the Southern Utah.  That has been far from the case.  The Thunderbirds came into the year and won eight games, including a victory at FBS member South Alabama, and qualified for the playoffs.  Only six years removed from a horrendous 2007 season that saw the team go 0-11, this program has come a long way.

2013 Record: 8-4, 5-3
Coach: Ed Lamb

Big Wins: 8/29 at South Alabama (22-21), 11/16 at Montana State (22-14)
Bad Losses: 10/5 UC Davis (3-21), 10/19 at Eastern Washington (10-34)

Southern Utah is led by their defense and special teams.  After being forced to play freshmen in key spots last season, the defense is full of experience.  The defense is top in the Big Sky Conference in Red Zone Defense, Rush Defense, Scoring Defense, and Total Defense. They have also picked off 15 passes and recovered 12 fumbles.  Five different players have recorded at least 60 tackles, led by Matt Holley with 102, while Tyree Mills has picked off four passes.  Four different players have also recorded three sacks, led by James Cowser with 9.5. The Thunderbirds are sound in the kicking game.  Colton Cook has hit 18-of-22 field goals, while Brandon Miller averages 43.4 yards per punt.  Team discipline has been a strength of the team.  They only average 4.75 penalties per game for an average of 40.7 yards.

The offense has been the weakness for the Thunderbirds.  They haven’t been able to establish the run or the pass, finishing in the bottom third of the country in both categories.  It has been an inconsistent year.  While they have been good holding onto the ball, only losing two fumbles, they have thrown 15 interceptions.  They also are allowing 2.18 sacks per game.  A pair of QB’s, Junior Aaron Cantu and Freshman Mike Sharp, have split time under center this year.  The receiving corps has done well, with three players with at least 30 receptions and 350 receiving yards.  In the rushing department, numbers are spread out, with three players rushing for at least 300 yards, led by Freshman RB Raysean Martin and Sharp.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Raysean Martin, RB, 441 yards
Passing: Aaron Cantu, QB, 1,763 yards
Receiving: Fatu Moala, WR, 586 yards
Tackles: Matt Holley, LB, 102
Sacks: James Cowser, DE, 9.5
Interceptions: Tyree Mills, DB, 4

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 128.9 (94th in nation, 9th in conference)
Passing Offense: 177.7 (89, 11)
Total Offense: 306.6 (106, 12)
Scoring Offense: 20.9 (93, 10)
Rushing Defense: 107.6 (10, 1)
Pass Defense: 235.0 (82, 5)
Total Defense: 342.6 (27, 1)
Scoring Defense: 19.7 (12, 1)
Turnover Margin: 1.2 (4, 2)
Sacks: 2.09 (51, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 2.18 (72, 9)

Recent Playoff Appearances:
No Tournament History

*all team stats through 11/16


Playoff Central