SUU Football played their final home game of the 2011 season Saturday, grabbing a big victory to leave a good taste in the mouths of Cedar City supporters.
in a season with a schedule full of road games, the Thunderbirds only had four games set for the Eccles Coliseum field. This meant only four opportunities for SUU to show their home crowd just what this team is made of. Home games are important for any team, in any sport. The home field advantage provides the team with a feeling of comfort and a feeling of confidence.
SUU did a good job making the most of their home field opportunities this season, winning three of their four home games. Their only loss came to North Dakota State University, in a game in which both teams were ranked. The Thunderbirds fell to the Bison 26-20.
Saturday the Thunderbirds had a chance to get that bitter loss out of the heads of their fans when they welcomed in UC Davis to the Eccles Coliseum. And with a 34-3 victory, SUU did just that.
Coach Ed Lamb knows the importance of winning at home, and particularly winning your last home game.
“A win in the final home game of the year is really important for the program for three reasons,” said Lamb. “First, the seniors leave the stadium with a positive feeling about SUU football- it’s important that they are motivated to return as supportive, alumni-fans. Second, the fans in the stadium will be more likely to return to games next season because cheering on a winning effort is so much more fun than being brought down by a loss. Third, our returning players will continue to take pride in the winning attitude we’ve established at home over the years.”
In a season that has managed to be successful and disappointing at the same time, Lamb is looking forward to each game, one game at a time.
“Our goal each week now is 1-0,” said Lamb. “We are going to pour 100 percent of our efforts into preparing for Northern Iowa. Not looking forward to Northern Arizona, or back to UC Davis.”
SUU pulled out a huge victory earlier this season against NCAA Division 1 opponent UNLV 41-16. But after winning the Great West Conference only a season ago, the Thunderbirds 1-3 conference record is a bit disappointing.
“We have a strong conference. Many people assume that we are moving “up” to the Big Sky. The Great West Conference has a winning record vs. Big Sky opponents this season,” said Lamb.
SUU is moving from the Great West Conference to the Big Sky Conference next season.
Despite their 1-3 conference record, SUU actually has a winning record overall of 5-4. One player’s effort and determination has really stuck out to Coach Lamb. Junior defensive tackle Cody Larsen has impressed many this season.
“He [Larsen] is the best DT I’ve ever coached, and that includes two NFL guys,” said Lamb. “His dedication to the game is unique.”
SUU Football will take the remainder of the season one game at a time. They travel to Iowa next weekend to face Northern Iowa University.
As for the home crowd, four games wasn’t enough to satisfy the fans.
“I was a little disappointed about it,” said Brooke Terrones, an SUU senior. “Football is one of the main things I look forward to about the fall season. I love attending the games and supporting the team. It felt like the season was cut short.”
Fans are certainly left wanting more SUU Football, but after Saturday’s big win at least they will be satisfied until next season.