CEDAR CITY Southern Utah University's football team is back home this week to host Northern Arizona in the Thunderbirds' 2008 homecoming game, set for 6 p.m. tonight.
The Thunderbirds (1-2, 0-0 Great West) will be looking to bounce back from a 46-10 loss at Montana, while the Lumberjacks should be fresh after a bye week following a 68-10 win over New Mexico Highlands on Sept. 6.
SUU held Montana scoreless through the first 21 minutes last Saturday, but the Grizzlies exploded for 23 points to close the first half en route to the non-conference win.
"We can learn a lot of lessons from (the Montana) game. I still believe we have a good football team, but we didn't play well, especially at the end of the second quarter and in the third quarter," said SUU coach Ed Lamb.
"The good news about that is when you play a good team they expose you in the areas where you're weak, in the areas where you're not technically sound, and we can correct them. I have reason to believe we will correct them because I know the character of this team and I've seen this program work before. The foundation of this team is hard work, and as coaches we're going to continue to get after it and work hard."
Tonight's game will mark the 13th matchup between the Thunderbirds and Lumberjacks. NAU holds an 8-4 edge in the series, including a 27-7 win at Flagstaff, Ariz., the last time the two teams met in 2005. Northern Arizona has won the last two contests, including a 41-12 victory in 2001.
The last Thunderbird win in the series came in 2000, a 27-3 triumph at Flagstaff. This is just the third meeting between the two teams in Cedar City, where the Lumberjacks have a 2-0 edge.
"Northern Arizona is a very good football team," said Lamb. "They have a strong tradition, they play an aggressive style of defense and they're very talented on offense. Arizona State had no success running the football against them, and Arizona State is pretty good this year."