Southern Utah Thunderbirds Win ‘Battle For The Ax’ Against In-State Rival Utah Tech

Nov 18, 2023, 9:04 PM | Updated: Nov 20, 2023, 11:13 am

ST. GEORGE, Utah – The SUU Thunderbirds wrested bragging rights back from Utah Tech with a 24-16 win over the Trailblazers.

Utah Tech (2-9, 1-5) hosted Southern Utah (6-5, 4-2) at Greater Zion Stadium on Saturday, November 18.

Find KSL Sports coverage of Southern Utah University Athletics here.

Justin Miller set SUU all-time records in passing yards and total yardage, completing 16-of-27 passes for 165 yards, one touchdown, and no turnovers.

Targhee Lambson (141 yards) and Braedon Wissler (131 yards) each topped the century-mark on the ground with Wissler also finding the endzone. Both running backs averaged more than nine yards per carry in the win.

On the other side of the ledger, Kobe Tracy completed 18-of-37 passes for 227 yards and an interception. Nygel Osborne gained 63 yards on seven rushing attempts. Daniel Thomason caught three passes for 70 yards.

Week 11: Top Plays From BYU, SUU, Utah, USU, Utah Tech, Weber State

First Half

The Trailblazers started with the ball and went run-heavy on the first drive of the game.

A long run by Chris Street and a catch from Daniel Thomason netted 40 yards leading to an early red zone appearance.

Nygel Osborne took a handoff 12 yards across the goal line and Utah Tech strikes first.

The Trailblazers defense brought similar energy and forced a three-and-out from the Thunderbirds offense.

Southern Utah’s next drive would look a lot better.

After forcing a quick punt of their own, the T-Birds moved down the field with a few big gains through the air.

Utah Tech buckled down in the red zone and forced a field goal attempt. The 35-yarder was missed, leaving the score at 6-0.

Utah Tech attempted a 47-yard field goal on their next drive and also missed.

With eight minutes left in the half, Southern Utah turned up the heat and stormed in front for the lead.

It started with a rushing TD for QB Justin Miller.

An interception and efficient offense led to the 14th touchdown of the year for Isaiah Wooden.

RELATED: Isaiah Wooden Leads Southern Utah To Win Over Stephen F. Austin

Wooden was wide open in the back of the end zone to give Southern Utah a 14-6 lead.

Just before halftime, the Trailblazers got some revenge for the missed field goal with an easy 25-yard chip-in.

The second quarter run put Southern Utah up five going into the break, 14-9.

Find KSL Sports coverage of Utah Tech University Athletics here. 

Second Half

After Southern Utah opened the half with a punt, the Trailblazers needed four plays to drive 68 yards for a six-yard Nygel Osborne rushing touchdown. The TD gave UTT a 16-14 lead with 11:52 left in the third quarter.

RELATED: Turnovers Lead To Disappointing Loss For Utah Tech Against Austin Peay

The Thunderbirds answered with a 31-yard field goal from Tyler Graham less than two minutes later, taking a 17-16 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Braedon Wissler escaped for a 26-yard TD in the final minute of the quarter.

Neither team scored in the fourth, allowing the Thunderbirds to escape with a 24-16 victory.

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Southern Utah Thunderbirds Win ‘Battle For The Ax’ Against In-State Rival Utah Tech