What did I tell you all!?
Let’s start out with Helbig. Helbig had maybe one of this best days ever as a Thunderbird. The sophomore quarterback went 20/25 for 268 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Honestly, 268 yards seems really, really low. Being on the sidelines for the game, Helbig looked like he should have had 400 yards. He proved that he is the building block for the SUU offense they need.
Give credit to the offensive line as well. They only let Helbig get sacked three times. Sure three is still more than wanted, but Helbig had plenty of time to do what he needed to do.
Helbig didn’t need to keep plays alive this week. His teammates helped him out with that between blocking and getting open at the right times. Take a look at this play and how Helbig sells the play action perfectly and then puts the ball on the money for his fallen wide receiver Carlos Baker
Sure Baker fell down, but this play couldn’t have been any more perfect. Helbig had the easiest day of his SUU career because his teammates stepped it up when it mattered most. SUU also was able to establish a running game, as they gained 233 yards on 56 attempts. James Felila and Thomas Duckett get a lot of credit for being big threats that set up a very balanced game for the Thunderbird offense.
Defense Wins Games
As great as the Thunderbird offense was, credit has to be given to the defense as well. Sure they gave up 34 points, but ISU is a really good offensive team. All their wins this year have been major blowouts. The Bengals should be expected to put up big points no matter what FCS opponent they play.
But SUU’s defense was locked in right from the start. Carlton Johnson started the game off with an interception that seemed to rattle ISU quarterback Matt Struck for the rest of the game. Johnson ended up finishing the day with a pick-six, helping him get the ROOT Sports Defensive Player of the Week.
Give credit to defensive line as well. There may have only been one sack and five tackles for loss, but they caused Struck to be uncomfortable all game. Struck could have easily come back from that first pick. But the defensive line was able to put pressure on him to force QB Hurries, while the linebackers in coverage, such as Nela Otukolo on his interception, were able to read his eyes to come up with interceptions and defelections.
Overall, this may have been the best game the SUU defense played all season. Never mind that ISU scored 34 points. If SUU had played any other team, they would have scored 14 points max.
I just want to give a quick look at Coach Warren. He called out his team in the best way possible after a loss to Portland State and they have responded perfectly. The game against Weber State was very close to an upset. UC Davis started out awful, but turned into a very tight game that SUU had a chance to win.
Warren is by far one of the best coaches in the FCS. There’s a reason he wasn’t dismissed from the program after a 1-10 season last year. It should be expected that he won’t be dismissed this year either, even if the T-Birds only win two games. The SUU Athletic Department believes in Warren and what he is trying to build. He has all the pieces. Now it’s about getting these pieces to tap into their full potential.
SUU is right there. It’s felt by the team, the athletic department, the coaches and it should be felt by the fans. If you don’t feel something special being built here, you aren’t paying attention.
My overall take this week…. SUU is for real. This is a team that is going to wreck havoc on the Big Sky in the future. There is a ton of talent all around. They have depth at every position. There are upperclassmen leaders helping the younger guys out. Everything about this team spells future Big Sky Champs. It spells FCS Playoffs. It spells National Championship contenders.
What do you guys think? Is Chris Helbig the key to SUU’s success like he was against ISU? How much credit does the defense deserve? Is Demario Warren really one of the best coaches in the nation? Comment below or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and let me know!