MONMOUTH, ORE. – The Dixie State Red Storm lost a 51-32 shootout to the Western Oregon University Wolves in Monmouth, Ore., to drop their record to 0-3 on the season, 0-2 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
Dixie had a ton of yards (450) and made a late comeback attempt, but could not pull any closer than 48-32 late in the game.
The Red Storm trailed 21-12 at the half and both defenses came out strong in the second half as the teams traded big plays. Bergman was intercepted twice on WOU’s first two possessions, first by Jamal Smith. That possession brought no points though as the WOU special teams blocked Michael Myers’ field goal attempt. It was WOU’s second blocked kick of the game. On the ensuing possession, Bergman was intercepted a second time by Marquece Galway. However, the Dixie offense was unable to capitalize once again, punting away with the 8:40 in the quarter.
Bergman drove the Wolves 90 yards in four plays culminating with a 76-yard pass to RB Joe Harris. The Red Storm answered with a quick possession of their own, going 70 yards in four plays ending with Robles hooking up with Duncan for a 12-yard touchdown. The two-point attempt again fell incomplete, but Dixie had pulled within 10 points, 28-18.
Unfortunately for DSU, the Wolves would then score three consecutive touchdowns before Dixie would score again, with Red Storm turnovers paving the way for the Wolves. Bergman would connect with Wafer again on a 9-yard pass with 3:09 to go in the third. After a fumble on the first play of Dixie’s next possession, WOU took advantage of the short field (20-yard line) with a quick strike from Bergman to WR Tyrell Williams to finish the scoring in the third quarter, 42-18.
On Dixie’s first possession in the fourth quarter, Robles was intercepted and returned to the Dixie 18-yard line. Four plays later, RB Leighton Panuie punched it in from one yard out. After the kick failed, Dixie was looking at a 30-point deficit, 48-18.
On the ensuing possession, Robles would find Duncan again from four yards out. The two-point pass attempt fell short, and Dixie had pulled to 48-24. On the next kickoff, Dixie linebacker Austen Richards delivered a blow to return man Patrick Tepea, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Dixie linebacker Trevor Oakley at the WOU 26-yard line. Five plays later, RB Myles Burton scored from four yards out pulling Dixie to 48-32 after the two-point conversion pass from Robles to WR Randon Willard.
Dixie attempted an onside kick, but it was recovered by the Wolves, who took advantage of the short field two minutes later with a 34-yard field goal from WOU’s Jesse Correa to finish the scoring.
The Dixie State offense gained 450 yards, but WOU had 509 yards and forced a couple of DSU turnovers. The Reds Storm were also sacked four times and was 0 for 2 on fourth down tries in the game. Robles was 39-59-1 for 450 yards. The defense shut down the Wolves running game to 2.2 yards per carry, but had trouble against the pass, where Bergman was 24-34-2 for 426 yards.
The game was close early. On the opening kickoff, freshman RB Colton Peterson was stopped at the Dixie 3-yard line. Dixie would go three and out. The Dixie punt only went 28 yards where the Wolves took over at the Dixie 39 yard line. Four plays later, Western Oregon’s QB Ryan Bergman connected with Antoinne Wafer for a 34-yard touchdown reception for a quick 7-0 lead. After another three and out by DSU, Bergmann connected with RB Nathaniel Penaranda to go up two touchdowns with 4:30 left in the first quarter.
Dixie would answer with a 17-yard touchdown pass from QB Griff Robles to All American TE Joe Don Duncan. The PAT was blocked and Dixie trailed 14-6 less than two minutes into the 2nd quarter.
With four minutes to go in the half, the Red Storm caught a break when Wolves punter Alexander Bradt was tackled before he could get a punt off at the Wolves’ 10-yard line. Two plays later Robles hit WR Mitch Frei on a 10-yard slant. The two-point conversion was incomplete, but Dixie had pulled within two at 14-12.
Any elation the Red Storm felt was short-lived however, as Bergman drove the Wolves 11 plays for 79 yards to add another touchdown to Wafer with 1:16 left in the half.
Duncan and Frei starred in the Dixie State receiving game. Duncan had 13 catches for 111 yards and three TDs. Frei finished with 10 catches for 100 yards and a score for Dixie State, which will be at Arcata, Calif., next week to face Humboldt State.
Stats: WOU 51, DSU 32
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