ST. GEORGE – With all the excitement and revelry surrounding Dixie State’s Homecoming celebration Saturday, the Red Storm and visiting Simon Fraser decided they they, too, would put on a show.
The two Great Northwest Conference teams combined for 1,094 yards and 15 touchdowns, but it was the team from Canada that came away with a 58-47 victory at Hansen Stadium on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in Utah’s Dixie.
Utah transfer Griff Robles passed for 339 yards and rushed for 88 more, but it still wasn’t enough for Dixie State. That’s because the Clan, from Burnaby, British Columbia, was pretty much unstoppable on offense.
Simon Fraser scored on five of its first six possessions and racked up 575 yards in the game. Most of it was passing as quarterback Trey Wheeler completed 36 of 54 pass attempts for 482 yards and six touchdowns. His favorite target was Lemar Durant, who had 12 catches for 228 yards and scored four times.
After a 7-7 first quarter, things got crazy in the second. Behind four Wheeler TD passes, the Clan pushed out to a 35-19 lead with 1:04 left until halftime.
Dixie State’s two-minute offense worked to perfection on the half’s final drive as Robles scrambled for a first down, then completed passes to Zach Fox (twice) and Randon Willard to set a first-and-goal at the 6-yard line with 28 seconds left in the half.
A quick strike to Fox made it 35-25 and Robles ran in the two-point conversion to make it a 35-27 game at the half.
Surprisingly, considering the nature of the game, neither team scored in the third quarter. But things got wild again in the fourth.
The Red Storm got the equalizing score and seemingly had momentum after Robles found Snow Canyon graduate Mitch Frei in the end zone on the second play of the fourth quarter. Andre Aron snatched a two-point try pass out of the air to make it 35-35 with 14:52 left.
But on the next drive Robles got sacked by Clan linebacker Dylan Roper, snuffing the Dixie State drive.
Simon Fraser scored on the next drive and never looked back. The TD pass from Wheeler to Jamal Kett and another to Durant were sandwiched around a Dixie State fumble and put the Clan up 49-35.
DSC got within 49-41 on a 97-yard kickoff return by Cache Morgan. But Simon Fraser drove 78 yards on 12 plays, using 5:15 off the clock to ice the game away on a Bo Palmer 1-yard run that made it 56-41.
Dixie State got a TD with 16 seconds left, but a two-point conversion try was returned for a defensive two by SFU’s Chandler Gayton for the final margin.
Dixie State, which was 8 of 14 on third down conversions and scored TDs on all five red zone trips, still fell to 3-6 overall and 3-5 in the GNAC. The Clan improve to 4-5 and 3-5.
The Red Storm are home again next week as Azusa pacific visits Hansen Stadium. Dixie beat the Cougars 24-22 in California back in mid-September.
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