CEDAR CITY — The Thunderbird football program celebrated Senior Day with a big victory over Lincoln University. Southern Utah honored the Seniors and their families before the game and despite a slow start came out victorious.  

Southern Utah quarterback Justin Miller takes a breather during the third quarter of the Thunderbirds’48-36 football loss to Utah Tech, Nov. 5, 2022 | Photo by Vin Cappiello, St. George News

“It is definitely an honor, because of all the hard work we put in,” said Isaiah Wooden, SUU wide receiver. “Having a day that you are recognized and having it be your last home game can be a lot of emotion. Embracing that is what you want to do because you don’t get another one of these.”

SUU quarterback Justin Miller said Cedar City will always be with him after the game.

“It’s been my home,” he said. “My wife and I and our daughter love it here. Cedar City means the world to us… It has been a very special place for us and I have had the opportunity to build relationships with a lot of people here.”

“I have been here for what feels like forever but I love Cedar, I love SUU and I love everything about this program, I wouldn’t change my experience for the world.” – Aubrey Nellems

Lincoln got on the board first with a sustained drive that ended with a 12-yard touchdown run after a scoreless first quarter. Despite back-and-forth turnovers for both teams, the T-Birds scored with just 21 seconds left in the half.

Justin Miller found Braedon Wissler coming out of the backfield for a 27-yard touchdown pass. The Thunderbirds would add the extra point to take a 7-6 lead into the break. 

The T-Birds came out of the break ready to play, going 69 yards in just two plays including two catches by Isaiah Wooden, who scored on a 58-yard pass. The Thunderbirds would score again in their next drive when Miller found Wooden again for a 45-yard touchdown pass.

After stopping the Oaks next drive, Southern Utah would drive 46 yards in three plays to score again, this time with Miller running the ball into the end zone from one yard out.

The Thunderbirds went to the fourth quarter with a 28-6 lead. Starting with the ball on the Lincoln 26, the T-Birds would use 3 plays to get into the end zone. A 5-yard rushing touchdown by Landon Freeman would be the last score of the game, making the final score 35-6. 

The Thunderbirds rolled over Lincoln University in Cedar City, Utah, Nov. 2, 2023 | Photo courtesy of SUU Athletics, St. George News

Miller completed 17 of 30 passing attempts, accumulating 252 passing yards and throwing three touchdowns and running for one touchdown. Isaiah Wooden caught seven passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns. Braedon Wissler also had 2 catches for 28 yards and one TD. 

On the ground, Grady Robison led the team with 67 yards. Landon Freeman added 59 yards and a touchdown in the contest. In total, the Thunderbirds rushed for 186 yards and scored two rushing touchdowns.

Southern Utah’s defense was a total team effort. Aubrey Nellems led the way in tackles, recording 12 total. Robert Horsey had his best game of the season, recording eight total tackles and 2 tackles for a loss. Julian Sanderlin registered four tackles in the game — including two big-time sacks.

Trevon Gola-Callard picked up seven total tackles, including a tackle for a loss. Linebacker Mason Stromstad added five tackles and an interception. Quadir Lockett-Smith also picked off a pass in the three-turnover game for the T-Birds.

Up Next:

The Thunderbirds are on the road next week to take on Stephen F. Austin in Texas on Saturday, Nov. 11. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. Mountain Time and will be broadcast on ESPN+.

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