Azusa Pacific University spoiled the Storms’ Homecoming hopes Saturday night.
Dixie State University kicked off its final season in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in upsetting fashion, dropping the conference opener to the Cougars 34-5.
“We have to figure some things out,” head coach Scott Brumfield said. “We have to be able to throw the football, and we’ll try and work on that during this short week.”
After a scoreless first quarter, freshman quarterback Blake Barney was intercepted for the second time, setting APU up with good field position. APU capitalized just a few plays later on a 25-yard touchdown reception by wideout Tarik Myles. Myles hit pay dirt again on the next possession as he wrestled the ball away from a DSU defensive back in the end zone, extending the Cougar lead to 14-0.
APU scored again on the opening possession of the second half with a 15-yard scamper from running back Kurt Scoby, who wound up at APU after signing at DSU and spending the summer working out in St. George.
On the ensuing possession, Dixie State turned the ball over deep in its own territory, setting APU up to put the game out of reach. However, the Dixie State defense stepped up to the challenge. The Storm stuffed Azusa at the goal line and took over at the 1-yard line.
Senior running back DeJon Coleman took the first down handoff 59-yards in what could’ve been a huge momentum changer. Unfortunately, the Storm couldn’t capitalize as the APU defense held them to a field goal.
Scoby found the end zone again, this time from 49-yards out, extending the Cougar lead to 28-3.
One of DSU’s only positives of the night came on the next possession as the pass rush forced an APU intentional grounding penalty in the end zone, which resulted in a safety.
Azusa took the wind out of the Storms’ sails just minutes later when Cougar backup quarterback Andrew Elffers took a read-option 70 yards for a touchdown to extend the lead to 34-5.
DSU came into the game as the top rushing team in the GNAC and continued to perform well in that facet, but its one-dimensional offense couldn’t find the end zone.
Wide receiver Demarrio Hammonds, a freshman general education major from Oakland, California, said he was disappointed with the offensive performance after the game.
“The defense did an outstanding job,” Hammonds said. “They always make big plays and force turnovers, and our offense can’t click.”
DeJon Coleman rushed for 106 yards while Barney and freshmen tail back Orlando Wallace combined for another 100 yards.
In total, the Storm rushed for 216 yards but were held to an all-time low 20 yards through the air.
DSU will attempt to get back on track Friday when the Western Oregon University Wolves visit Hansen Stadium at 6 p.m.