Are you ready for Fighting Sioux football? With fall camp around the corner, we're counting down the days to the return of UND football. With 21 days to go until the pigskin flies through the air for the first time, we'll be previewing all 11 UND opponents during that stretch right here on FightingSioux.com.
Countdown to football: 21 days
Who: Southern Utah
What: Great West Conference opener
When: Saturday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m.
Where: Eccles Coliseum
Why: The old addage says to be the best, you have to beat the best and the Thunderbirds are the reigning GWC champions after posting an unblemished 4-0 record in 2010.
SUU was just 2-5 outside of conference, but the four straight GWC wins at the backend of the season was part of a five-game overall winning streak. The Thunderbirds, who were picked to repeat as GWC champions in a vote of the league's five head coaches, lost some firepower, however, so that should bring the team back to the pack a little.
The big hit came in the passing game where senior quarterback Brad Sorensen will be without his two favorite targets from a season ago. The Walter Payton Award preseason nominee (for FCS Player of the Year) will not have familiar targets Tysson Poots (85 rec., 1,230 yards and 11 TDs) or Fesi Sitake (82 rec., 877 yards and five TDs) to pitch the ball around too in 2011.
Sorensen does have classmate Austin Minefee back to hand the ball off too. The senior tailback rushed for 764 yards and five touchdowns a season ago.
The Sioux will be hungry for revenge after last season's, 31-21 setback at the Alerus Center. UND jumped on the visiting Thunderbirds with 14-quick points on a Greg Hardin seven-yard touchdown reception and Joel Schwenzfeier's school record 100-yard interception return.
SUU responded with 14 points in the second quarter to tie the game up going into halftime, then added 17 more unanswered points to pull away from the home team.
UND is 1-2 all-time in visits to Cedar City, having lost there in 2009 by the score of 35-10. The Sioux won the 2007 game between the two teams in the Beehive State, posting a 37-10 victory at Eccles Coliseum.