ELLENSBURG, Wash. – Dixie State could not overcome a first-half onslaught by Central Washington and suffered its third consecutive loss Saturday at Tomlinson Stadium. The Trailblazers just two touchdowns against their former GNAC rivals in the 40-18 defeat.
Dixie State again had trouble running the ball. They were outgained on the ground 275-86 by the Wildcats.
“Today we got beat by a better football team,” said DSU head coach Shay McClure. “They had more depth, more talent and more experience. This is the first game I have felt that way.”
CWU started the scoring in the first quarter when they blocked Dixie State punter Corey Stens’ punt and returned the ball 11 yards to the end zone. Dixie State got three points back later in the quarter when DSU kicker Eric McLaughlin split the uprights with just over two minutes to play in the quarter.
The Wildcats responded quickly. On their next possession, CWU quarterback Justin Lane found Quincy Carter for a 70-yard catch and run with 40 seconds remaining in the first quarter, making it 14-3.
CWU continued its damage by scoring on its first two possession in the second quarter. The first was on a 41-yard pass from Lane to Christian Stafford with 8:14 left in the half. Four minutes later Carter found the end zone again, this time on a 1-yard dive that culminated a five-play, 89-yard drive and made it 27-3.
Dixie State would score one more time before halftime. With less than a minute to play, running back Orlando Wallace caught a pass from quarterback Josh Thompson and ran 43 yards for the score. At halftime, the Wildcat lead was 27-10.
The teams traded punts to begin the second half. On the Wildcats second possession, they drove 83 yards in 11 plays, ending with Carter’s third touchdown of the day, a 5-yard run with 7:10 remaining in the third. Dixie State blocked the PAT, but the Wildcat lead grew to 33-10.
On DSU’s first drive in the fourth quarter, Wallace guided the offense out of the wildcat formation and drove the team 87 yards in 13 plays. Running back Clifford Simms rushed for the final four yards and scored the touchdown with 8:19 remaining in the game. Wallace’s pass to tight end Cooper Robinson gave the ‘Blazers two more points with the score reading 33-18.
“We had to go to the wildcat formation today,” McClure said. “That was about 40 percent of our offense. Quarterback Josh Thompson is playing hurt. And we either had to get creative or pull in Nick Warmsley and ruin his redshirt year. We had hoped that Blake Barney would be back, but it was clear in practice this week he needed a few more days.”
Central Washington scored on its next possession to squash any hopes for a comeback. In less than two minutes of playing time, running back JoJo Hillel ran for a 31-yard touchdown. With 6:20 remaining, the score read 40-18.
The ‘Blazers did threaten on their next possession, getting the ball to the Wildcat 28-yard line, before it stalled and DSU turned the ball over on downs. CWU ran out the remainder of the clock to seal the victory.
Overall, CWU outgained the Trailblazers 490-362. Individually for Dixie State, Thompson completed 15 of 24 passes for 238 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Orlando Wallace gained 46 yards on 16 carries. Simms gained 41 yards on 11 carries. Aubrey Reed had 125 yards receiving on four catches. Wallace had 84 yards receiving on seven catches.
The Trailblazers fall to 1-3 overall and remain 1-2 in the RMAC. They resume conference play next week with a home game against Western State out of Colorado. Game time at Legend Solar Stadium is 1 p.m.
Stats: CWU 40, DSU 18
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