Jeff Tedford and Cal will host Southern Utah on September 8. Photo Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Know the Opponent: Southern Utah Thunderbirds

We return to the FCS ranks with the Southern Utah Thunderbirds who are moving from the Great West Conference to the Big Sky. Last season the Thunderbirds went 6-5 and were just 1-3 in conference play, they’ll travel to Cal on September 8 for a noon kickoff on the Pac-12 network.

Senior Brad Sorensen will again handle the quarterback position for SUU after manning the controls last season. In 2011 Sorensen threw for 3,143 with 17 touchdown passes, 11 interceptions but had a 67.8 completion percentage, he also ran for two TD’s.

In the running game senior Henna Brown who had 118 yards on 27 carries over the course of nine games played with three scores. Junior Mike Tagliaferri is the second leading returning rusher from last season with 42 yards on nine carries over 11 games.

The receiving corps will young this coming season having lost several players from last year’s team. Junior Fatu Moala he played in 10 games caught 26 passes for 370 yard for a 14.2 yards per catch average. Sophomore Easton Pederson had 304 yards on 23 receptions with a 13.2 YPC which will help a young receiving corps.

Leading tackler junior Chad Hansen returns, last season he had 104 tackles with 53 solo and 51 assisted. In addition he had seven tackles for loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception. Junior safety Tommy Collet is next on the list of returners on defense for the team, he was eighth in tackles with 40 tackles.

Southern Utah returns what looks to be a decent quarterback plus its leading tackler from 2011. Moving to a tougher conference will probably effect the overall record, the Thunderbirds also open against Utah State and California. Postseason play shouldn’t be expected during 2012 with Sacrament State, Montana, Weber State, Eastern Washington and North Dakota on the schedule.

2012 Southern Utah Thunderbirds Schedule –

@Utah State 8/30
@California 9/8
New Mexico Highlands 9/15
@Portland State 9/22
Montana State 9/29
Sacramento State 10/6
@Montana 10/13
Weber State 10/20
Eastern Washington 10/27
@North Dakota 11/3
@Northern Arizona 11/10

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July 18 – Sacramento State (27)
July 20 – Fresno State (26)
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Tags: Big Sky Conference Big Sky Conference Football Cal Cal Bears Cal Bears Football California California Golden Bears California Golden Bears Football Great West Conference Great West Conference Football Jeff Tedford Pac 12 Football Pac-12 Pac-12 Conference Pac-12 Network Southern Utah Southern Utah Football Southern Utah Thunderbirds

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