One of the new kids on the block has turned out to be a pretty tough guy who's not one to be trifled with. And one of the oldest guys in the neighborhood has been getting beaten up by just about everybody these days.
Such is the scenario that has unfolded this season for Big Sky Conference newcomer Southern Utah University and Weber State, one of the league's founding fathers.
In their first Big Sky season, the Thunderbirds are 3-4 overall and have managed a 2-2 conference mark, notching a big road victory over perennial league powerhouse Montana last weekend. The Wildcats, meanwhile, are still looking for their first victory of the season, as they're 0-7 for just the second time in school history and 0-4 in conference play.
And while Weber State has won 14 of the two schools' previous 18 meetings — though SUU has won four of their last seven contests — today's matchup marks the first time these two in-state schools will tangle as Big Sky opponents.
In last year's game in Ogden — played almost a year ago to the day on Oct. 22, 2011 — the Thunderbirds trailed 21-10 early in the third quarter, then reeled off 25 unanswered points en route to an eventual 35-28 victory.
The winless Wildcats come into today's game off an encouraging 19-14 loss on the road at Sacramento State a week ago. In that game, WSU held the Hornets to just 310 yards of total offense — the fewest yards the 'Cats have allowed in a game all season long.
But Weber State's defense, ranked 12th in the league after giving up an average of almost 36 points per game, will have its hands full with SUU senior quarterback Brad Sorensen. Named the Big Sky's Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, Sorensen already tops the school's all-time lists for career passing yards (7,993), touchdown passes (54) and career completions (669).
Thus far this season, Sorensen has thrown for 1,839 yards and 16 touchdowns with eight interceptions. His favorite targets have been Fatu Moala with 38 catches for 370 yards, including five TDs, and Mitch Jessop, with 29 receptions for 470 yards and three more scores.
Sorensen and his WSU counterpart, Mike Hoke, each threw for over 200 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception in last year's game. Hoke also ran for a score in last year's loss to the T-Birds.
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'Cats, T-Birds on the air
Weber State (0-7, 0-4 Big Sky) at Southern Utah (3-4, 2-2)
Today, 1 p.m.
Eccles Coliseum, Cedar City
Radio: 106.9 FM, 91.1 FM