UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | February 27, 2024

Red Storm lose season opener to CMU

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Dixie State University football could not live up to an off-season full of hype and anticipation in front of over 4,000 fans Saturday night. 

Colorado Mesa University’s potent ground attack proved to be too much for the DSU defense to handle in the 43-3 rout of the Red Storm. The fans were not the only ones left disappointed after the game. Nik Wolford, a senior linebacker from Sandy, also had high expectations for the matchup. 

“We always expect to win,” Wolford said. “If we didn’t have that expectation to win, there would be absolutely no point in playing the game. We are extremely grateful for the support of the faculty, student body and community. There has been a lot of effort put in to help this team be successful, now it’s about making it happen.” 

For CMU, sophomore halfback Jonathon Beverly rushed for 224 yards on only 15 carries, giving him an average of nearly 15 yards per carry. All CMU rushers earned more than six yards per carry, showing a glaring hole in the DSU defense. 

In total, the Mavericks rushed for 363 yards, more than any DSU opponent ran last season. The yardage total left senior linebacker Robert Metz at a loss for words. 

“I really couldn’t say what happened, man,” Metz, an integrated studies major from Tucson, Arizona said. “We’ll just have to watch our game film and see what went wrong. We’ll learn from our mistakes and get back to work.” 

The blowout started off slow, as both teams struggled to find a rhythm and didn’t put any points on the board for the first four drives of the game. The momentum shifted when DSU sophomore quarterback Trevor Rea threw an off-target pass across the middle of the field and was subsequently intercepted by Maverick linebacker Tom Saager, who saw nothing but green grass in front of him on the 38 yard touchdown return. 

On the following possession, a high snap sailed over the head of senior punter Christian Rodriguez and CMU took over deep in Storm territory. The Mavericks took advantage of the miscue by following it up with a three yard touchdown scamper from senior D.J. Hubbard. 

Led by junior quarterback Sean Rubalcaba, CMU added a pair of second-quarter touchdowns to extend its lead to 28-0. Rubalcaba found Marcus Hines across the middle and he streaked up the sideline for a 61-yard score. Rubalcaba found the end zone again on a 45-yard option QB keeper.

After the two teams traded a couple of field goals, they entered the locker room with a score of 34-3.  

The second half of the game was a slow-paced defensive battle as neither team found the end-zone. CMU tacked on three more field goals while the Storm went scoreless, resulting in a final score of 43-3. CMU accounted for 582 total yards while DSU racked just 287. Freshman wide receiver Demarrio Hammonds said he believes the huge yardage differential was due to the team not being able to find a rhythm.

“We just had a bad game on both sides of the ball,” Hammonds said. “We couldn’t connect offensively and that put the defense in a bad position and effected their performance. We just need to execute and play our game.” 

In an otherwise mundane game, there were some bright spots for Dixie State. The Storm rushed for 166 yards, 95 of those coming off the 10 carries from freshman quarterback Blake Barney, who saw limited snaps behind Rea. Rea completed 13-23 passes for 102 yards. Almost half of those completions were thrown in the direction of senior wide receiver Nate Stephens, who finished with 61 yards on six receptions. 

DSU will have just four days to prepare for Central Washington University, who come to Hansen Stadium Thursday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. CWU defeated the Storm 48-14 last season.