‘Diggers bury Dixie State under avalanche of offense

Dixie State University, 0-2, fell to South Dakota Mines 35-14 Saturday night. The Blazers return home next Saturday at Legend Solar Stadium | File photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The Dixie State football team hosted the top passing attack in the nation Saturday afternoon and is still licking its wounds after taking a 62-27 pasting from the Orediggers at Legend Solar Stadium.

blazerDmines“When you play good teams like Colorado Mines, you have to have some bounces go your way,” said Dixie State head coach Shay McClure. “You also have to play mistake-free football or close to it. We did not do that today.”

Prior to the game, cornerback Tyneil Cooper was ruled out with injury. Things fot worse for the Trailblazers. In the first quarter, DSU leading tackler and defensive team captain Colton Olson was ejected for targeting on his helmet-to-helmet contact with CSM’s quarterback, Justin Dvorak.

“I was coming in on a blitz,” said Olson. “I tried to make a play on the ball and my facemask hit the back of his helmet. It was not intentional.”

Riley Hoff makes a catch, Dixie State University vs. Colorado School of Mines, Football, St. George, Utah, Oct. 22, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Riley Hoff makes a catch, Dixie State University vs. Colorado School of Mines, Football, St. George, Utah, Oct. 22, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

McClure said his worst fears were realized at that moment.

“After Colton was ejected, I looked into my defensive backfield,” he said. “And I realized I had four freshman going against the top passing attack in the country.”

Add to that the absence of other defensive starters Malcolm Jackson and speedy linebacker Garret Hutnick and the task of stopping CSM’s passing attack was near impossible.

Both teams started hot as each team scored on the first five possessions of the game. With less than a minute gone in the second quarter, the CSM lead was 21-13. But the Trailblazers blinked first. Corey Stens punted the ball on DSU’s third possession. The Orediggers added another touchdown before halftime to go up 28-13 at the break.

“Our game plan coming in was to run the ball, control the clock and keep our offense on the field,” said McClure. “Initially we were able to do that.”

DSU’s first two scoring drives both went for 75 yards. The first one took 15 plays and resulted in a 2-yard plunge by fullback Ernest Quiocho. The second only took nine plays and quarterback Josh Thompson called his own number on an option and rambled 20 yards to the end zone untouched.

Dixie State got the ball first after halftime and had a chance to cut into the CSM lead. But the drive stalled and Stens came out for his second punt.

Dixie State University vs. Colorado School of Mines, Football, St. George, Utah, Oct. 22, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Dixie State University vs. Colorado School of Mines, Football, St. George, Utah, Oct. 22, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Colorado Mines scored on its initial drive of the half on a Dvorak pass to Zac Guy from 18 yards out. That touchdown started another run where neither team could stop the other as both teams scored over the next five possessions. However Dixie State was down three touchdowns and could not afford to trade scores.

Running back Orlando Wallace ran the wildcat formation with success during most of the game. He scored a 49-yard touchdown early in the third quarter. Four minutes later, he found Snow Canyon High School alum and tight end Cooper Robinson on a 67-yard touchdown pass to pull the Blazers to within 42-27.

“Cooper was wide open,” said Wallace. “I was hoping that he would make it to the end zone before they caught up to him.”

Dixie State's Peter Brown (21), Dixie State University vs. Colorado School of Mines, Football, St. George, Utah, Oct. 22, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Dixie State’s Peter Brown (21), Dixie State University vs. Colorado School of Mines, Football, St. George, Utah, Oct. 22, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Dixie State would not score again, however, and the defense would not be able to stop the CSM offensive attack.

“We felt comfortable coming in that we could run on them,” said Wallace. “And really we did. But they came up with big defensive plays that stopped some of our drives.”

Two late DSU turnovers halted any hope for a comeback and Colorado Mines would score twice more before substituting liberally late in the fourth quarter and scoring once more with just over three minutes remaining.

DSU was outgained by the Orediggers 582-320 yards. Individually for Colorado Mines, Dvorak completed 18 of 32 passes for 281 yards and four touchdowns. Sam Seeton gained 104 yards on 16 carries. Brody Oliver had six receptions for 166 yards and two scores.

For Dixie State, Wallace completed both of his passes for 76 yards and a touchdown. He also led the team in rushing with 79 yards on eight carries. DeJon Coleman had 68 yards on 13 carries. Justin Martin had five receptions for 35 yards.

Mike Jones led the team with eight tackles. Keanu Foki had seven tackles and a sack. Jaylen Moore and Noe Perez each had five tackles.

Colorado School of Mines moves to 6-2 overall and 5-2 in the conference. The Trailblazers fall to 4-4 overall and 4-3 in the RMAC. Dixie State will play the next two games on the road. Next week, the Blazers travel to Alamosa, Colo., to take on Adams State. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Stats: CMU 62, DSU 27

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