ST. GEORGE There's a lot of things it would have been for Dixie State.
The biggest win in its young Division II life. A monstrous upset. A landmark moment for the program.
Instead it was just another disappointing defeat.
Central Washington, nationally ranked and a playoff team from last season, tied the game on the final play of regulation, then clinched it in overtime Saturday night to beat Dixie State 44-38 at Hansen Stadium.
Preseason All-American Mike Reilly calmly led the Wildcats 32 yards in 29 seconds to set up a 44-yard field goal by Garrett Rolsma as time expired.
After a Dixie State turnover in overtime, J.R. Hasty ran it in from 25 yards out to clinch the win for CWU in the two teams' first-ever meeting.
Dixie State led by a 31-21 count, but fell behind 35-31 after the Wildcats scored a pair of TDs, the second coming with 2:07 to go in the fourth quarter.
Dixie quarterback Dexter Hill countered with an impressive drive that covered 60 yards in six plays. The go-ahead score came on a 21-yard pass from Hill to Nash Fowler with 29.1 seconds left.
But Central Washington took advantage of the Dixie State prevent defense to hit short passes and creep within field goal range, setting up the tying score.
The Rebels had the ball first in the overtime, but turned it over for just the second time all night on an interception in the end zone.
On the first play of the Wildcats OT possession, Hasty, the son of former NFL player James Hasty, broke through the line, cut left and sprinted into the end zone nearly untouched.
Dixie compiled 411 yards of offense. Hill passed for 296 yards and two TDs but connected on just 12 of 32 passes. Skyler Ence hauled in seven receptions for 114 yards and a TD, and Tauni Vakapuna rushed for 88 yards and a score on 20 carries.
Dixie State hosts Western New Mexico next Saturday.