Dixie State University football couldn’t come through in an attempt to start its first multi-game winning-streak in the last two years against conference foe Azusa Pacific University.
After last week’s 38-35 win against Simon Fraser University, DSU traveled to the iconic Citrus Stadium for a rematch against APU on Saturday.
Azusa Pacific spoiled DSU’s homecoming night on Sept. 26 in a 34-5 rout of the Storm. In the prior matchup, the Cougars took advantage of their potent rushing attack to best DSU, and the rematch was no different.
APU used 346 rushing yards, a flurry of turnovers and big plays to down the Storm 61-14.
The Cougars forced DSU to punt on the first drive of the game before junior cornerback Darchon Taggart picked off an APU pass in the end zone to regain possession for the Storm.
The teams continued to trade punches as freshman quarterback Tyson Blackner was picked off on the first play from scrimmage. APU capitalized on the next play as freshman running back Kurt Scoby rumbled 33 yards for the first score of the game. Scoby would finish the day with four scores on the ground.
The DSU offense stalled again and after another three-and-out, and APU junior scat-back Tarik Myles took it 57 yards to the house to extend its lead to 14-0.
The Storm defense continued to struggle as they allowed a touchdown on nearly every APU drive. Blacker finally found the end zone for DSU on a 7-yard keeper, and DSU went into the half down 35-7. Senior linebacker Robert Metz said he wasn’t sure what caused the collapse.
“We had a good game plan and started out alright, but we couldn’t execute when we needed to,” Metz, an integrated studies major from Tucson, Arizona said. “We made mental and physical errors and they just started to snowball.”
The second half was much of the same as APU took the opening possession 82 yards to pay dirt and recorded a safety on the next DSU drive to extend the lead to 44-7.
The Cougars scored on the next three possessions before DSU freshman quarterback Orlando Wallace scored on a 2-yard run with under a minute remaining.
In the 61-14 loss, Blackner finished with 113 yards through the air and 33 on the ground. Senior running back DeJon Coleman led the Storm with 40 rushing yards, while senior wide receiver Nate Stephens was the only DSU player with more than one reception with his six catches for 61 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore Colton Olson finished with a school-record 18 tackles and Metz added 10. Olson and Metz both said they liked the game plan going into Saturday, but it just didn’t work out.
“I thought we had a good plan going in,” said Olson. “We just couldn’t execute and big plays killed us like they have all year.”
The 2-5 Storm will have a week off before heading north to face South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in another conference road matchup on Halloween night.
“The bye week couldn’t come at a better time,” Metz said. “We’re pretty banged up right now, and they are a solid team. We’ll have to turn things around to have any type of success up there.”