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Southern Utah defies projections, wins Big Sky title, FCS playoff berth


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Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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CEDAR CITY — One of the best stories in the state of Utah involves a college football team going to the playoffs.

Picked to finish eighth in the Big Sky Conference, Southern Utah proved everyone wrong and won a league title and its second postseason bid in three years.

Head coach Ed Lamb and the Thunderbirds hope to continue to prove people wrong in the playoffs, starting Saturday when they travel to Huntsville, Texas, to face Sam Houston State. It's a playoff rematch from two years ago, a game Southern Utah lost.

Saturday's game kicks off at 1:30 p.m. MST and will be streamed live on ESPN3.

But with more experience, they plan on a different result.

"You have this goal to get to the postseason, and now we're here. But we have to keep practicing and keep working," Lamb said. "It's a renewal of a commitment to each other.

"I think our guys have done that during the past 48 hours or so."

Ammon Olsen transferred to SUU two years ago, and he threw for 3,049 yards and 21 touchdowns in his first full season with the Thunderbirds. Olsen continued this success this year, completing 60 percent of his passes for 2,965 yards and 22 touchdowns while leading the Thunderbirds to an 8-3 record.

Photo: Cathleen Allison, AP Photo
Photo: Cathleen Allison, AP Photo

But the former Alta High quarterback who originally signed with SUU out of high school before later switching to BYU, then back to SUU, hopes this year comes with some added postseason magic.

"We've been celebrating for a couple of days," Olsen said. "But now we're focused. We're ready to play some more games and make some noise in the playoffs."

The Thunderbirds have no regrets with this season — but that doesn't mean they are content with making the playoffs.

"We're just going to play hard; that's my prediction," said James Cowser, the Big Sky defensive player of the year. "The last time we were in the playoffs, we were just happy to be there. Now we're looking to play hard and give it a run."

Contributing: Sean Walker

Photos

Jeremiah Jensen

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