The Utah Tech Trailblazers are about to face the Southern Utah Thunderbirds.


Utah Tech and Southern Utah meet on the gridiron for the first time since 2010 and as conference opponents for the first time since 1963, when the Trailblazers hit Cedar City on Saturday.

Saturday night’s contest marks the third time the two programs have met as NCAA opponents and the first in 12 years, reigniting a long-standing rivalry.

Southern Utah defeated then-Dixie State 36-7 in 2009 and 52-0 in 2010.

The 1963 match took place when both schools were junior colleges.

The Trailblazers were outshot by #12 Weber 44-14 in the second half as Weber’s defense stifled Utah Tech.

A 24-14 deficit quickly turned into a 30-point rout, dropping Utah Tech to 1-2.

“It’s been a fun week again,” Utah Tech head coach Paul Peterson said. “Getting ready for Weber State — obviously being in-state competition, I guess you could say — it’s exciting to be able to play a team down the road from us and be in the same conference as us. I think this rivalry will be special for both communities in the future.

“A special class of competitive games, and again, this is just the beginning, but I believe it will be something special, records don’t matter. Nothing, nothing & mldr; I was excited when I started this. I know Coach Fitts is doing a great job with those guys.

Don’t worry SUU fans, we will have the key to the game tomorrow.

The start in Cedar City is scheduled for 6 p.m

Keep Kobe Tracy straight

That was arguably the main problem for Utah Tech against Weber State on Saturday.

Tracy was constantly knocked and pressed. The Wildcats put Tracy on the turf on what felt like every drop for the redshirt sophomore, and Weber had three sacks on the night.

The knocks finally took their toll on Tracy.

After completing 16/32 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, Tracy was just 3/15 in the second half.

On the last throw, Tracy jumped the pass and came up with an upper body catch.

Paul Peterson said Tracy is day-to-day.

“He hit well. We’ll see if he can make it to the game on Saturday.”

Peterson pointed out that his team has to defend against anyone who takes a surprise attack on the Thunderbirds.

“For most of the game, I don’t think Kobe was comfortable back there,” Peterson said. “Hats off to Weber, they had a great game plan & mldr; I thought the second half Kobe was uncomfortable going back there. He took big time tackles in the game and tried to pop back out of most of them, so he kept that quarterback clean.”

Southern Utah’s defensive line was solid.

Edge runners Francis Bemy and Zach Strand anchored the line, with Rylen Su’a-Filo and Payton Payne in center field.

Strand is coming off a 1.5 sack game against Western Illinois and was named the WAC Defensive Player of the Week.

Joey Hobert early and often

Through the first three games for the Trailblazers, Hobert has established himself as Peterson’s go-to weapon.

Hobart officially leads the FCS in passing yards (467) and receiving yards (157.7) per game.

He is tied for 2nd in the tournament with 27 and tied for 4th with four touches.

Hobart leads the WAC in all four categories.

“He’s a new guy coming in the summer, so you’re trying to see who he is. You’ve seen what he can do in games in camp and you’ve seen him play a leadership role and be vocal as the summer starts with some workouts. He’s obviously quick and flexible and you’re like, ‘Okay, this guy can play.’

His home runs tied for the team lead on Tuesday.

Hobert had his third straight 100-yard receiving game, hauling in ten catches for 123 yards and a 37-yard touchdown catch from Tracy.

Hobert’s 123 receiving yards were more than half of Utah Tech’s receiving yards.

Against SUU, Damaje Yancey, Mitchell Price and the rest of the SUU secondary will have their hands full, especially if Tracy is there.

Lifting the back end

In SUU’s first three contests, the running game struggled. Southern Utah’s passing attack was up and down during the opener against Western Illinois and St. Thomas outside the final two minutes on Saturday.

It took a late 73-yard touchdown pass from Justin Miller to Isaiah Wooden to put SUU up 2-1.

Even then, Wood’s big-play ability, Ethan Bolingbroke’s reliable hands and veteran Miller’s presence could still cause problems.

A week after forcing four interceptions — including a pair of pick-sixes — Utah Tech was held by Bronson Barron for 368 yards and four touchdowns. Utah Tech did not record a sack of Barron.

Ty McPherson had a big day lining up mostly with Colby Williams.

McPherson caught Williams twice for long touchdowns and had six catches for 140 yards and three touchdowns.

Jacob Sharp added another 116 yards and a touchdown.

The safety duo of Terrell Grayson and Darius Nash have been solid, with Grayson coming off two interceptions and leading the team with 11 tackles.

The two are hoping to slow down Wood and company again this Saturday.

“I’m pumped for this game,” Peterson said. “Our guys are pumped for this game. We had a high-energy game last week and this will be the same. Our guys will be flying and we definitely have something to prove.”

Sean Ellertson is a sports reporter for the St. George Spectrum and Daily News. To continue supporting the work, please subscribe to Spectrum. Follow Sean on Twitter @SeanEllertson.





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