Southern Utah’s Comeback Attempt Falls Short Against Central Arkansas

Sep 30, 2023, 10:40 PM | Updated: Oct 2, 2023, 1:43 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The Southern Utah football program suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Central Arkansas Bears after the Thunderbirds’ comeback attempt fell a couple of points short.

Southern Utah falls at home to Central Arkansas

The Thunderbirds hosted the Bears at Eccles Coliseum in Cedar City, Utah on Saturday, September 30.

RELATED: Southern Utah Shuts Down Western Illinois For First Win Of Season

SUU lost to Central Arkansas, 29-27.

After falling behind by double-digits, the Thunderbirds made a strong push in the second half and were a successful two-point conversion away from tying the game in the final minutes.

The T-Birds fell into an early hole after the Bears scored first on a field goal three and a half minutes into the contest. Near the end of the opening quarter, Central Arkansas extended its lead to 10-0 with the game’s first touchdown.

Southern Utah got on the scoreboard after Justin Miller connected with Timothy Patrick for an eight-yard touchdown with 13:35 remaining in the first half. Miller’s toss to Patrick cut Central Arkansas’ lead to 10-7.

Two minutes later, the Bears responded with a touchdown of their own. Central Arkansas extended its lead to 17-7 with the score. The Bears added to their total with another field goal at the 7:27 mark of the second quarter.

Central Arkansas took a 20-7 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Following the break, the Thunderbirds started their second half scoring with a touchdown pass from Miller to Zach Mitchell that was good for 22 yards and six points. The touchdown trimmed Central Arkansas’ lead to 20-14.

The Bears bounced back with another touchdown of their own to make it a 26-14 game.

Following the third quarter, the game entered a 30-minute weather delay due to lightning.

RELATED: Southern Utah’s Football Game Against Central Arkansas Delayed Due To Weather

After the delay, Central Arkansas pushed its advantage to 29-14 with a field goal in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.

Southern Utah made its final push when Miller connected with Patrick for 25 yards and six points with 6:52 to go.

Four minutes later, Miller found Patrick again, this time for 20 yards and another touchdown.

The score made it a 29-27 game. However, the Thunderbirds were unsuccessful on the subsequent two-point conversion.

The Thunderbirds used their timeouts to stop the clock and managed to force the Bears to punt on their next drive.

After getting the ball back, Southern Utah’s offense stalled and turned the ball over on downs with a little over a minute left to play and the Bears took victory formation.

Miller finished the game 20/44 passing for 186 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. Patrick led SUU’s receivers with five catches for 79 yards and three touchdowns.

Up next for Southern Utah

With the loss, the Thunderbirds fell to a 1-4 record this season.

Southern Utah’s next game is on the road against the Tarleton State Texans on Saturday, October 7 at 5 p.m. (MDT). The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.

Kyle Ireland is a Sports Producer and Locals in the NFL Insider for He’s also co-host of the Yards After College Podcast. Follow him on X/Twitter (@kyleireland), Instagram (@kyleirelandksl), and Threads (@kyleirelandksl).

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Southern Utah’s Comeback Attempt Falls Short Against Central Arkansas