BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA – For the first time since November 2008, the Dixie State Red Storm football team felt the thrill of victory away from Hansen Stadium. Behind a solid ground game from Jesse Ence and the strong performance from the “Red Swarm” defense, DSC defeated the Simon Fraser Clan 28-21 at Terry Fox Field in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play Saturday.
Dixie State (1-4, 1-3 GNAC) used a balance attack to post 387 yards of total offense – 193 rushing, 194 pass. The win snapped an eight-string losing skid on the road dating to the team’s last road victory at Humboldt State in the final game of the 2008 campaign.
Ence carried the ball 25 times accruing 150 yards and a touchdown. The Ence effort was the most prolific since his teammate Adam Wells – who added 50 yards against SFU – tallied 186 yard against Humboldt in August of 2008.
Cody Stevenson threw three touchdown passes. The first to Kyser Christensen on a simple slant capped an eight play, 68-yard opening drive. Nash Fowler hauled in a 44-yard reception on 2nd-and-18 to set up the score.
Simon Fraser tied the game in the first quarter with a quarterback keeper from Ryan Schwartz after Tyler Wilkinson set up the Clan with great field position, returning a Mike Langston punt to the Dixie State 33-yard line.
The second of HSU’s four turnovers set up the Storm for a touchdown in the second quarter. Off a Langston punt, Wilkinson fumbled the bouncing pigskin recovered by Ryan Laws at the two-yard line.
A pass interference penalty moved DSC to the 18 on second down. Alex Nelson snagged a Stevenson pass in the end zone for a 14-7 lead.
Dixie State let a prime chance to increase the lead before the halftime break. Kevin Larson fumbled at the SFU 9-yard line, losing possession on a nine-play drive.
The Clan came firing out of the locker room in the third quarter. Gabe Ephard took a reverse during the kickoff return 56 yards setting up SFU in Dixie State territory. On the drive’s second play, Schwartz connected with Mathas Baumbach for 21 yards and the equalizing score.
Ence ran for a score from 11 yards out, putting the Red Storm ahead 21-14. DSC faced one third down play on the drive, moving the sticks with a Stevenson to Fowler strike for 22 yards.
Danny Hawkins and the defense laid the foundation for a score early in the fourth quarter. The defensive lineman intercepted a Quinton Agosta pass returning it to the five. Later, Stevenson found Zach Fox in the end zone for a 28-14 lead.
Bo Palmer broke the plane from five yards ending a frenzied SFU drive with 2:36 left on the clock.
Ence sealed the game with a 12-yard scamper on third down-and-nine to the 34. A subsequent run of 23 yards in to Clan territory gave the Storm a chance to run a set not seen until Saturday – the victory formation and kneel-down.
For the Red Swarm defense, Keauntea Bankhead recorded a team-best seven tackles while Christian Case tallied three tackles for loss. Joining Hawkins with an interception was Wes Hulse – a first-quarter pick in the SFU endzone.
SFU had Ephard rush for 107 yards and linebacker Andrew Marshall record 11 tackles with an interception.
Dixie State College returns home to play their first game on the renovated Hansen Stadium Field Turf next Saturday, Oct. 9, against Western Oregon. Kickoff on Homecoming weekend is at 1 p.m.
DixieAthletics.com Recap with YouTube video highlights: http://www.dixieathletics.com/news/2010/10/3/FB_1002105422.aspx