After gaining 53 yards on its first possession and kicking a 37-yard field goal, the Chadron State football team grabbed the early lead, but was never ahead again and lost to Dixie State 38-24 Saturday afternoon during an RMAC contest in St. George, Utah.
The Eagles’ offense struggled much of the game, but with the help of touchdowns off of a blocked punt and a fumble return, they tied the score at 10-10, 17-17 and 24-24 before the Trailblazers drove 70 and 87 yards for touchdowns in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.
Both teams are now 3-3 for the season and 3-2 in the RMAC.
The Trailblazers dominated the stats, outgaining the Eagles by a 516 to 288-yard margin. The Utah team rushed 60 times for 248 yards and senior quarterback Malik Watson completed 15 of 25 passes for 268 yards and four of Dixie State’s five touchdowns.
With senior tailback Derek Jackson carrying 17 times for 121 yards and a 7.1-yard average, the Eagles gained 160 yards on the ground, but completed just 16 of 37 passes for 128 yards.
The passing game was a strength through the first five games. Redshirt freshman quarterback Dalton Holst had completed 99 of 187 passes for 1,229 yards and threw for 459 yards, the Eagles’ sixth highest total all-time, against nationally-ranked Colorado Mesa a month ago, but he connected on just 11 of 31 for 82 yards Saturday.
CSC receivers’ coach Logan Masters said the ineffective passing game was a combination of things—a few drops, some off-target throws and the Blazers’ defense.
Dixie State possessed the ball more than 36 minutes and the Eagles a bit more than 23.
“We knew they would try to dominate the clock by running the ball, and that’s what they did,” said Chadron State coach Jay Long. “Because of our touchdowns from the blocked punt and the fumble, we were always in the game, but we needed to get more going on offense much of the time.”
Dixie State had missed one field goal try, but connected on a second attempt and drove 69 yards for a touchdown and a 10-3 lead before the Eagles posted their first touchdown with nine minutes left in the second quarter. It occurred when redshirt freshman Cole Thurness blocked Dixie’s punt and also claimed the ball in the end zone after a teammate had helped “fumble it” toward the goal.
The Eagles’ Will Morgan, who also kicked the early field goal, added the extra point to tie the score at 10.
Dixie State went back on top 17-10 just 19 seconds before halftime when Landon Cook scored from the one after Trayvon Watson picked off Holst’s pass and returned it 34 yards. A face mask penalty by the Eagles also helped set up the dive into the end zone.
Chadron State knotted the count again late in the third quarter when defensive end Tyler Kiess forced a Dixie State running back to fumble and cornerback Trevon Mosley took the loose pigskin 37 yards to paydirt. It was Mosley’s second fumble return for a touchdown this fall.
The deadlock was short-lived. On the first play after the ensuing kickoff, Watson hit wide receiver Dejuan Dantzler with a pass about 15 yards downfield, a CSC cornerback missed the tackle and Dantzler raced to the end zone for a 65-yard bomb.
The Eagles caught up for a third time at 24-all early in the fourth period by driving 80 yards in eight plays. Jackson ran the ball five times for 56 of the yards, including the final 19 to the goal line.
Dixie State again retaliated a hurry, going 70 yards in nine plays. Everything was on the ground until Watson found Ernest Quiocho in the end zone from seven yards away.
The Eagles picked up three first downs on their next possession, but the drive ended at the Dixie 13 when linebacker Alex Lilliard intercepted a long pass thrown by alternate quarterback Matt Vinson.
Vinson had completed his first five passes before the pick occurred.
After the turnover, the Trailblazers marched 87 yards in 12 plays and scored when Watson, a transfer from San Jose State, hooked up with Josiah Blandin on a 25-yard pass for his second touchdown of the game with 2:26 to play to clinch the verdict.
Blandin led all receivers with four catches for 98 yards. Dixie State’s leading rusher was freshman Jeff Coprich with 23 carries for 124 yards.
CSC sophomore linebacker Keenan Johnson was the game’s busiest tackler with 15, including 10 solos. Safety Ryan Wood also had 10 unassisted tackle and an assisted stop.
First Downs 19 27
Total Net Yards 288 516
Rushes, Yards 31-160 60-248
Passing Yards 128 268
Passing 16-37-2 15-25-0
Return Yards 180 187
Punts, Average 7-42.9 4-26.0
Fumbles, Lost 1-0 1-1
Penalties, Yards 9-97 6-32
Chadron State 3 7 7 7 ----24
Dixie State 3 14 7 15 ----38
CSC—Will Morgan 37 field goal
DSU—Anthony Reyes 31 field goal
DSU—Josiah Blandin 21 pass from Malik Watson (Reyes kick)
CSC—Cole Thurness recovered blocked punt in end zone (Morgan kick)
DSU—Landon Cook 1 run (Reyes kick)
CSC—Trey Mosley 37 fumble return (Morgan kick)
DSU—Dejuan Dantzler 65 pass from Watson (Reyes kick)
CSC—Derek Jackson 19 run Morgan kick)
DSU—Ernest Quiochio 7 pass from Watson (Reyes kick)
DSU—Blandin 25 pass from Watson (Reyes kick)
Rushing: CSC—Derek Jackson 17-122, Priest Jennings 5-20, Kevin Coy 8-20, Dalton Holst 1-minus 1. DSU—Jeff Coprich 23-124, Lika Palmer 16-86, Blake Barney 11-30, Bryce Willett 3-11, Landon Cook 1-1, Malik Watson 3-minus 4.
Passing: CSC—Dalton Holst 11-31-1, 82 yards, 1 TD; Matt Vinson 5-6-1, 46 yards. DSU—Malik Watson 15-25-0.
Receiving: CSC—Colt Foster 5-35, Jackson Dickerson 4-40, Brandon Fullerton 3-30, Brad Johnston 1-23, Cole Thurness 1-11, Priest Jennings 1-1, Kevin Coy—1-minus 2. DSU—Josiah Blandin 4-98, Orlando Wallace 4-25, Kasey Allison 2-19, Dejuan Dantzler 1-65, Tyler Krepsz 1-34, Jeff Coprich 1-11, Mike Gayden 1-9, Ernest Quiocho 1-7.
Kickoff Returns: CSC—Brian Wood 3-88, Stevann Brown 1-21. DSU—Orlando Wallace 4-108, Lika Palmer 1-18. Punt Returns: CSC—Cole Thurness 1-12. DSU—Ethan Udy 2-8. Interception Returns: DXU—Trayvon Watson 1-34, Alex Lilliard 1-0. Fumble Returns: CSC—Trevon Mosley 1-37.
Tackles: CSC—Keenan Johnson 10-5, 15; Ryan Wood 10-1, 11; Tyler Lewis 7-4, 11; Truett 4-4, 8; Collin Eisenman 4-2, 7. DSU—Treyvon Watson 7-2, 9; Alex Lilliard 5-3, 8.