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SUU football • Southern Utah looks for repeat upset in opener against Nevada

Published August 29, 2014 11:27 pm

Thunderbirds looking at a tough matchup vs. Nevada.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Reno • Southern Utah opened last season with an upset victory and used it as a springboard to the Thunderbirds' first-ever playoff berth.

Can SUU do it again?

On Saturday, Southern Utah begins a new season at Nevada. Kickoff is 1 p.m. MDT.

In their opener a year ago, the Thunderbirds rallied for a 22-21 victory at South Alabama. SUU eventually finished 8-4 in the regular season and secured an at-large bid to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.

According to coach Ed Lamb, the Thunderbirds are ready for a stern test against Nevada, which last year finished 4-8 overall and 3-5 in the Mountain West Conference.

"Our [preseason] camp has been as we hoped it would be," Lamb said. "It was productive ... Our coaches are really pleased with the focus and commitment these players have shown to each other."

Lamb has not announced who will start at quarterback against the Wolf Pack, senior Aaron Cantu or BYU transfer Ammon Olsen. Their battle throughout camp has been a close one.

"They have pushed each other," Lamb said, "and provided leadership. How to get after it. How to focus on things they can control. Not worrying about what the other guy is doing.

"The plan is definitely to play them both. But if the starter has the offense firing on all cylinders, we won't make a change for the sake of making a change."

Lamb isn't worried about the situation being a problem.

"You can have a quarterback controversy or a quarterback depth issue," he said. "I think it will work itself out." —

Southern Utah at Nevada

O At Reno, Nev.

Kickoff • Saturday, 1 p.m.

TV • nevadawolfpack.tv, Radio • 590 AM

Records • SUU 0-0, Nevada 0-0

Series history • Nevada, 1-0

Last meeting • Nevada 24, Southern Utah 23 (2003)

About the Thunderbirds • This is their 100th season of football. ... After going 0-11 in 2007, they are 34-34 in six seasons under head coach Ed Lamb. ... They will be paid $350,000 for playing this game, according to the Reno Gazette.

About the Wolf Pack • They went 4-8 last season, including 3-5 in the Mountain West Conference and a 28-23 loss to BYU. ... They are led by senior QB Cody Fajardo, who threw 13 touchdown passes and only three interceptions last season.