ST. GEORGE – The Dixie State football team could not get any steam in its offensive attack Saturday night and fell to the visiting Azusa Pacific Cougars 34-5.
DSU’s quarterback tandem of Blake Barney and Tyson Blackner connected on just 5 of 23 passes for 20 yards, with two interceptions.
Both defenses played well to start the game as the contest was scoreless in the first quarter.
On Azusa Pacific’s opening drive, DSU defensive tackle Benson Laumatia forced a fumble which was recovered by Donovan Williams. Williams returned the ball 7 yards to the APU 45-yard line. Dixie could not take advantage, though, and punted four plays later.
“We had a good outside rush,” said Williams. “That forced their quarterback to step up and Benson got a good hit to jar the ball loose. It popped into my hands. I wanted a touchdown, but there was a lot of traffic, so I am just happy I held onto the ball.”
APU finally got a break in the second quarter when Tyree Davis intercepted Barney’s pass and returned it 30 yards to the Dixie State 36-yard line. With the short field, the Cougars were able to put the ball in the end zone. Cougar quarterback Chad Jeffries found Tarik Myles from 25 yards out. With 9:32 left in the first half the score was 7-0.
The Cougars’ next two scoring drives also started in Dixie State territory. Pinned deep in their own territory, the Storm was forced to punt. The punt went past midfield, but with a decent return APU started at Dixie State’s 49-yard line. Jeffries connected with Myles again, this time from 17 yards out to give the Cougars a 14-0 lead at the break.
APU’s next scoring drive again took advantage of a good punt return and started at the Dixie State 46-yard line. The Cougars needed only five rushes to score. The last one a 15-yard run by Kurt Scoby that made it 21-0 five minutes into the second half.
Dixie State got on the board at the end of the third period with a 22-yard field goal from Alex Giordani, culminating a Red Storm 11-play, 94 yard drive that started at the Dixie 1-yard line. The big play of the drive was the first, a 60-yard run by running back DeJon Coleman.
Scoby scored his second touchdown of the night with a 49-yard run in the fourth. With just under 13 minutes remaining, the score was 28-3.
“Defensively we played OK,” said Dixie safety Colton Olson. “We have to shore up our tackling, though. We had some missed tackles that turned short gains into long ones.”
Dixie State’s final points would come on an intentional grounding penalty called on Jeffries in his own end zone. The call resulted in a safety for the Red Storm.
“We all got a good push,” said Olson. “I had the running back in coverage but their line went backwards quickly. It was a good team defensive play.” With 9:42 showing in the fourth the score was 28-5.
APU tacked on another touchdown in the waning moments of the game. The PAT was blocked to put the final score at 34-5.
For APU, Jeffries completed 8 of 19 passes for 102 yards. Scoby led all players with 159 yards rushing. Myles caught three passes for 52 yards.
Coleman gained 101 yards on 13 carries for the Storm. As a team, DSU had 216 yards rushing, but only 20 yards through the air. Defensively, Olson had 12 tackles to lead DSU.
APU improves to 3-1 (1-0 in the GNAC). Dixie State falls to 1-3 (0-1). The Storm will host Western Oregon this Friday night. Game time is set for 6 p.m. at Hansen Stadium.
Stats: APU 34, DSU 5
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