ST. GEORGE – Dixie State finally got the monkey off its back and came away with a convincing Homecoming victory against the visiting Menlo Oaks from Atherton, Calif., 28-6 Saturday night in Hansen Stadium.
“We still made a few mistakes,” he said. “But tonight we did not let them hurt us, so we will enjoy this one.”
The Red Storm jumped out first with the first of three touchdowns from wideout Nate Stephens. Dixie quarterback Ben Longshore found Stephens on a crossing route in the left corner of the end zone to give Dixie a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Neither team was able to capitalize on big plays offensively. Both chewed up clock on sustained, ball-control drives. Dixie was able to capitalize on its drives while the Oaks had trouble finishing. Dixie scored again in the second quarter, this time on a Colton Peterson 3-yard run with 2:20 remaining in the half. The Red Storm advantage was 14-0.
“We didn’t necessarily game-plan the ball-control, short-yardage game,” said Longshore. “But Menlo switched some things up on us that took us time to adjust. We took what they gave us.”
The Oaks were able to run a two-minute offense and get into scoring position with 22 seconds remaining at the Dixie 10-yard line. But on fourth down, Menlo made the decision to go for seven points instead of the field goal. Dixie held and went into halftime with the two-touchdown advantage.
Menlo finally got on the board on its initial drive of the second half. Running back Jake Fohn found paydirt after a 12-yard run around the right side. The PAT was unsuccessful but the Oaks had pulled to within one score, 14-6. The Oaks offense would not threaten again the rest of the night.
In the fourth quarter, the Longshore-Stephens connection brought forth fruit twice more. The first was a 1-yard pass into the left corner of the end zone with 14:13 to play. The second came as Longshore was flushed from the pocket and started a scramble to the right side. Pulling up he found Stephens all by himself in the right corner for touchdown number three.
Longshore completed 19 of 32 passes for 240 yards. His favorite target, Stephens, caught eight passes for 96 yards. Antonio Morton had four catches for 64 yards. Tight ends Dalton Groskreutz and Brock Johnson had two catches apiece for 34 and 16 yards respectively. Peterson led the team in rushing with 64 yards on 12 carries.
For Menlo, quarterback Josh Neal completed 20 of 33 passes for 114 yards. Brandon Soohoo caught eight passes for 69 yards. Jake Fohn led all rushers with 88 yards on 22 carries.
Defensively, linebacker Robert Metz led Dixie with 15 tackles, 11 unassisted. Jake Witham got his fourth interception of the season. Linebacker Garland Munns also recorded an interception.
Menlo falls to 2-6 with the loss. Dixie moves to 1-7 (0-3 in GNAC) with the win. DSU will host the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology for a GNAC conference match-up Nov. 1 in St. George. Game time is at 6 p.m.
Stats: DSU 28, Menlo 6
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