Southern Utah’s Upset Bid Comes Up Short Against No. 24 Austin Peay

Oct 21, 2023, 10:13 PM | Updated: Oct 23, 2023, 1:17 pm

CEDAR CITY, Utah – Southern Utah had its chances but couldn’t hang on to a second-half lead, eventually falling 48-45 in double overtime against Austin Peay.

Southern Utah (2-5, 1-2) hosted No. 24 Austin Peay State at Eccles Coliseum on Saturday, October 21.

Justin Miller completed 24-of-42 passes for 291 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Braedon Wissler gained 109 yards on the ground and scored once. Gabe Nunez, Joshua Acord, Isaiah Wooden, and Chase Merrell all caught touchdown passes for the Thunderbirds.

Aubrey Nellems led SUU with ten tackles and a team-high 1.5 sacks. Samuelu Siaosi added a sack and three tackles. AJ Felton finished the night with two interceptions.

First Half

Justin Miller gave the Thunderbirds a first-quarter 7-0 lead when he found Chase Merrell for a touchdown from seven yards out.

Austin Peay answered, driving 75 yards for a Jevon Jackson 23-yard rushing touchdown. Less than two minutes later, the Governors took their first lead when Alyas Vigil returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead.

SUU took control in the second quarter, scoring 21 unanswered points. Grady Robison found the end zone on a 73-yard run and later threw a 47-yard TD to Gabe Nunez.

SUU took a 28-14 lead into the halftime locker room.

Second Half

Miller’s second touchdown pass of the night found Isaiah Wooden for a five-yard TD reception as SUU took a 35-14 lead with 12:07 left in the third quarter.

The Governors stormed back with four consecutive touchdowns to take a 42-35 lead with 2:21 left.

With their backs against the wall, Miller drove the Thunderbirds into the red zone before finding Joshua Acord for a 16-yard touchdown with 1:05 left. SUU added the two-point conversion to tie the game at 42 and force overtime.

First Overtime

Austin Peay took the ball first but saw the drive end on a tipped-ball interception from AJ Felton.

After coming up empty on three straight plays, Tyler Graham’s 42-yard field goal had the distance but drifted left and bounced off the goal post, forcing a second overtime.

Second Overtime

Miller was sacked on second down to open the second overtime, forcing the Thunderbirds to call on Graham once again, this time for a 40-yard field goal attempt. Graham split the uprights to give his team a 45 -42 lead.

Governor QB Mike DiLiello stepped up with his first touchdown pass of the night, finding Trey Goodman for a game-winning eight-yard TD on second-&-six.

Following Southern Utah Athletics With KSL Sports

The Thunderbirds stay in Cedar City to host Abilene Christian University on Saturday, October 28. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. (MT).

KSL Sports coverage of Southern Utah University Athletics can be found here.

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Southern Utah’s Upset Bid Comes Up Short Against No. 24 Austin Peay