Football Falls in Season Finale to Southern Utah, 48-21

Emmanuel Butler
Emmanuel Butler

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona (5-6, 4-4 BSC) fell to Southern Utah (6-5, 5-3) today in the HintonBurdick Grand Canyon Trophy game, 48-21. The Thunderbirds jumped out to a 14-0 lead, NAU fought back to tie it up before heading into halftime, but the Thunderbirds outscored the Lumberjacks on Senior Day to come away with the victory at the Walkup Skydome.

"I thought our guys gave it all we had today," said head coach Jerome Souers. "We were really banged up entering the game and didn't have a lot of our key players on offense. This wasn't how we wanted to finish our season and I know that the team wanted to close out with a win."

Junior wide receiver Emmanuel Butler notched 100 yards this afternoon to become the first two-time 1,000-yard receiver in NAU history. He finished the season with 1,003 yards. Last season he broke the school season record with 1,208.

"It's a great accomplishment and I'm humbled," said Butler when asked about the honor. "Of course I wish we would have won today to make it better."

After coming out of the half tied, SUU scored on a three-yard run. NAU came back to tie it at 21-All with a 26-yard touchdown pass completion from Blake Kemp to Butler. From there the Thunderbirds scored four consecutive touchdowns to close out the game on top and take home the HintonBurdick Grand Canyon Trophy.

SUU racked up 564 yards of offense to NAU's 335. A major part of SUU's production came at the hands of Malik Brown, who registered 163 rushing yards. The Thunderbirds were able to capitalize on NAU's three interceptions.

Three seniors led the NAU defense today. Siupeli Anau had 11 tackles, including a seven-yard sack and two quarterback hurries. Keith Graham added 10 tackles with 1.5 of them tallying a seven-yard loss, while Xavier Stephens had 10 tackles and 1.5 tackles for a loss of five yards.

Prior to the game, NAU recognized 19 seniors.

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