Sacramento, Calif. • Southern Utah plays Big Sky Conference rival Sacramento State on Saturday night in a game that won't count in the league standings.
Because it was contracted before SUU became a member of the Big Sky last year, the schools and the league decided to forgo the massive job of juggling schedules.
As a result, Southern Utah and Sacramento State will face each other but won't start conference play until Sept. 28, when the Thunderbirds play Northern Colorado and the Hornets visit Weber State.
Against Sacramento State, Southern Utah tries to rebound from a 48-10 defeat at Washington State. The 38-point losing margin was the largest in coach Ed Lamb's six years at SUU.
"We didn't play our best and we needed to play our best to stay with Washington State," Lamb said. "â¦ I wish we would have played better."
Late in the first half, Washington State owned 21-10 lead when the Thunderbirds drove into Cougar territory. But with a chance to make it a one-possession game, SUU quarterback Aaron Cantu threw one of his three interceptions, which was returned 72 yards for a touchdown.
"It really took the wind out of our sails," Lamb said. "Guys started pressing. It became hard to compete."
Cantu, a junior college transfer making his third start, completed 22 of 30 passes for 146 yards.
"He felt like he let his team down," Lamb said. "But great quarterbacks throw interceptions. We have explained that to him."
Sacramento State has also played a Pac 12 opponent this season, losing at Arizona, 55-0. Last week, the Hornets needed overtime to beat Division II Southern Oregon, 63-56.
Southern Utah at Sacramento State
P At Hornet Stadium (Sacramento, Calif.)
Kickoff • 7:05 p.m. MDT Radio • 91.1 FM
Records • Southern Utah 2-1, Sacramento State 1-2
Series • Sacramento State leads 7-6
Last meeting • Sacramento State, 27-22 (2012)