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T-birds look to eliminate the errors

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In Southern Utah's previous three games, the T-birds put themselves in position to win. In their 28-point loss to Eastern Washington (Big Sky Conference), the T-birds failed to do that and were never really in the game.

SUU coach Gary Andersen said his team had plenty of chances, but couldn't capitalize.

"They (EWU) executed and made some nice plays, and we didn't," Andersen said. "Every time they needed to make a play they did, and we didn't."

The T-birds (1-3) were intercepted once for a 68-yard touchdown, and on numerous occasions, the defense gave up a long pass or long run.

"It's a major concern and a major issue for us in practice. We have to be able to defend the deep ball," Andersen said. "We've got to find guys that will make plays with the ball in the air. We're going to see it again."

Eastern Washington quarterback Erik Meyer, who ranks fourth nationally among Div. I-AA quarterbacks, completed 11 of 19 passes for 228 yards and four touchdowns against the T-birds. A week early he scorched Central Washington on 22 of 29 passing for 304 yards and five touchdowns.

"They hit us with big plays," Andersen said.

The T-birds also struggled stopping the EWU running game. Running back Reggie Witherspoon rushed for 112 of EWU's 221.

Eastern Washington jumped out to a 14-0 lead and SUU was driving, but a fumble stopped the drive. Eastern Washington eventually led 21-0 before SUU scored its first touchdown on a two-yard pass from Rehrer to Charles Henderson.

EWU led 42-7 at the half.

"After the onslaught was over we have a chance to get back into it and then we would give up another one," Andersen said.

The T-birds ran 17 more plays than Eastern Washington. Both teams had a fumble and two interceptions. EWU outgained the T-bird 475 yard to 356.

SUU will have the week off before hosting Western Oregon Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Eccles Coliseum.

The game will be the first of three straight home games. The T-bird host Southwest Texas State Oct. 11 and Div. I-AA No. 1 McNeese State on Oct. 18.

E-mail: jhinton@desnews.com