Dixie State University football suffered its third straight double-digit loss under the Friday night lights despite the highest offensive output of the season.
DSU welcomed Great Northwest Athletic Conference foe Western Oregon University to Hansen stadium for a showdown, and both teams were looking for their first conference win.
Just one week after the Storm tallied an all-time low of 20 passing yards, it threw for a season high of 392. In total, DSU out gained the Wolves in total yardage 500-354 and dominated the time-of-possesion but were plagued by costly turnovers and penalties.
DSU gave the ball away on three occasions and had nine penalties that pushed them back 100-yards.
“We shot ourselves in the foot tonight,” head coach Scott Brumfield said. “We moved the ball really well, but we couldn’t execute in the red zone, and we couldn’t finish on defense. That will be our main focus going into practice this week.”
After the teams traded three-and-outs, DSU freshmen quarterback Blake Barney and freshman receiver Demmario Hammonds hooked up on three consecutive passing plays to setup a 40-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Alex Giordani.
The Storm forced another punt on the next possession, and Barney found freshman wide receiver Nate Johnson, who wouldn’t be denied as he bulldozed his way through WOU defenders on his way to the end-zone. The 20-yard score extended the DSU lead to 10-0, and the Storm were seemingly in control.
It was all Western Oregon from that point on as the Wolves silenced the Red Storm crowd to the tune of 42 unanswered points beginning with a 52-yard touchdown reception by wideout Keoni Piceno. Leading the Wolves’ big run was wide receiver Paul Revis, who got things rolling on a 32-yard go route touchdown from quarterback David Sowards. DSU senior linebacker Nik Wolford, a business administration major from Draper, said he didn’t know where to put the blame for the defensive breakdown.
“It’s all too easy to point fingers when you start having problems,” Wolford said. “But we are a team, and everyone has to contribute. I know I made mistakes that didn’t put us in a good position to win.”
Revis continued to dismantle the Storm defense on Sark Arslanian Field as he returned two different DSU punts 80 plus yards for touchdowns, although one of them was called back due to a holding penalty.
“We’ve got to limit those big plays,” Brumfield said. “They have killed us all year long, and we can’t continue to do that if we expect to win football games.”
WOU running back Joe Harris found the end zone three separate times, marking the second time this season DSU has allowed an opposing player to rush for three touchdowns.
There were a few bright spots in the otherwise disappointing game for DSU, including Barney’s 222 yards of total offense. Senior wide receiver Nate Stephens had 11 receptions for 124 yards, and redshirt freshman Brad Duran added seven catches for 81 yards.
Freshman quarterback Tyson Blackner threw for 223 yards and played the majority of the second half, coming in for Barney after DSU failed to convert on consecutive second-half drives. Brumfield said it wasn’t due to Barney’s performance or his banged-up shoulder, and said the quarterback battle is still very much open.
“We knew coming into the game that we were going to give both guys a shot,” Brumfield said. “No one really stood out in practice this week, so we decided to give them equal reps.”
The Storm will attempt to regroup before it takes a long road trip to the Great White North, where they will face Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. The GNAC matchup will take place Oct. 10 at 2 p.m.