The Dixie State football team dropped a 19-17 decision to Colorado Mines in heartbreaking fashion on Saturday at Marv Kay Stadium in Golden, Colorado.
After the Orediggers converted a 38-yard field goal to build a 10-3 lead early in the third quarter, the Trailblazers (3-5, 3-4 RMAC) rallied to take a 17-16 lead with 14:47 to play in the fourth quarter. Redshirt sophomore Blake Barney entered the game after the CSM field goal and engineered both DSU touchdown drives.
Trailing 10-3 after the Colorado Mines field goal, Dixie State mounted its longest drive of the game, marching 75 yards in 15 plays in less than seven minutes. Senior fullback Landon Cook capped the drive with a 1-yard dive into the end zone to tie the game at 10-10. The Trailblazers converted three times on third down and another time on fourth down during the drive, as Barney converted passes of 10, six and 13 yards on third down, and scrambled once for 11 yards to move the chains.
Colorado Mines responded on the ensuing possession and regained the lead five plays later with a 31-yard touchdown run. The point-after attempt sailed wide right, and the Orediggers maintained a 16-10 lead with 1:30 remaining in the third quarter.
Unfazed, Dixie State countered with another scoring drive on its next possession. Barney rushed for nine yards and completed a 3-yard pass to junior receiver Brad Duran, followed by two CSM penalties to set the Trailblazers up for another touchdown. Barney faked a fly sweep toss on first down to freeze the CSM defense, then fired a 38-yard strike to Duran, who made the catch and strolled into the end zone for his first touchdown of the season. Redshirt freshman kicker A.J. Yergensen converted the point-after attempt, and the Trailblazers took a 17-16 lead 13 seconds into the fourth quarter.
The DSU defense looked to get the ball back to the offense quickly on the next Colorado Mines drive, forcing the Orediggers to a 3rd-and-10 from their own 35-yard line. But CSM quarterback Cody Limmer found receiver Sean O’Dell for a 41-yard pass on the next play to extend the drive. The Orediggers eventually settled for a 32-yard field goal to retake the lead at 19-17 with 11:19 remaining in the game.
The Trailblazer offense picked up where it left off on its next drive and quickly moved to the CSM 10-yard line after Barney found junior receiver Orlando Wallace for a 38-yard pass to set Dixie State up with a chance to retake the lead. And then things got wacky.
Barney took the first-down snap, and after seeing his receivers were all covered, sprinted for the end zone. Barney fought off a tackle at the 5-yard line, took another step and dove for the goal line. But a CSM defender hit Barney in the air, knocking the ball loose. The Orediggers recovered at the 10-yard line, ending the DSU drive with 8:26 remaining.
Determined to get the ball back for the offense, the DSU defense forced a three-and-out on the next CSM possession. However, the offense never got the ball back. The CSM punter botched the ensuing punt, and it seemed as though the Trailblazers would have great field position for a possible game-winning drive. But the CSM punt dropped on top of a DSU special teams player trying to set a block for the return. The Orediggers jumped on the live ball and retained possession.
Colorado Mines then drained the clock, converting three first downs to seal the victory.
Dixie State finished with a season-low 286 yards of total offense and was held to less than 100 yards (71) rushing for the second-consecutive game. Barney completed 10-of-11 passes for 134 yards and one touchdown, while senior Malik Watson completed 8-of-17 passes for 77 yards.
Wallace finished with a team-high 11 catches for 120 yards, while Duran finished with four catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. Yergensen converted a career-long 36-yard field goal in the second quarter.
Defensively, the Trailblazers conceded 430 yards of total offense (262 rushing, 168 passing). Senior linebacker Noe Perez recorded a career-high 15 tackles, while sophomore safety Mike Jones turned in his second-straight double-digit tackle performance with 13 tackles. Junior defensive lineman Remington Kelly added eight tackles and one sack.
Dixie State returns to Legend Solar Stadium next Saturday, hosting Adams State on Homecoming. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
Keric Seegmiller is Assistant Coordinator of Media Relations at Dixie State University and the Voice of Trailblazer Athletics. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.