Vakapuna, Wells lead Dixie State over Azusa Pacific 33-23

Vakapuna, Wells lead Dixie State over Azusa Pacific 33-23

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Press releaseSAINT GEORGE -- On a warm fall afternoon, the Dixie State College football team looked to win consecutive games for the first time since making the transition to NCAA Division II.

Azusa Pacific University was the only thing that stood in the way. DSC defeated the Cougars 33-23 at Hansen Stadium in front of 2,413 people.

DSC (4-4) took its first possession of the game 89 yards on 9 plays for a touchdown. Judd Thompson found Robert Evans on a third and seven for a 14 yard touchdown pass to put the Red Storm on top 7-0. The drive featured several pass plays to RB Adam Wells and a 43-yard scamper from RB Tauni Vakapuna.

The first half was dominated by the Red Storm. Following the opening drive, kicker Mike Langston add field goals from 24 and 37 yards, building the Red Storm lead up 13-0.

DSC took over on there own 35-yard line with four minutes remaining in the second quarter. Thompson led the Red Storm down the field on two long pass completions, one to Wells for 48 yards and another to Nash Fowler for 31 yards. The two completions would set up a one-yard touchdown run for Sione Tapuosi to cap a four-play 78-yard drive. The score would give the Red Storm a 20-0 lead going in the half.

The Dixie State defense dominated the first half play allowing just 23 yards rushing and 12 yards passing.

Dixie State would add another score with 3:44 left in the 3rd quarter. Thompson would find Wells for a 20-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone, building the lead to 27-0.

The game looked to be a blow out, but the Cougars were not going to go away easily. One of the bright spots on the day for APU was the return play of Jerimiah Andujo, he collected a punt return of 43 yards and a kick return for 80 yards. Both plays would set up Azusa Pacific touchdowns.

Dixie State would add a 40- and a 36-yard field goal from Langston to build their lead to 33-23.

The Red Storm offense gained 464 yards of total offense; 344 yards passing and for the second straight week would gain over a hundred yards rushing. They finished with 120 yards on the day.

Thompson would finish the day 19-38-1 for 344 yards passing. Wells collected seven catches for 118 yards and a touchdown. Evans had four grabs for 78 yards and a touchdown. Vakapuna had three for 75 yards, Skyler Ence had two for 12 yards, Fowler had one for 31 yards, Alex Nelson had one for 19 yards and Jesse Ence had one for 11 yards.

For the first time since making the DII transition, Vakapuna had back to back 100 yard rushing games. He finished with 111 yards on the day.

The Red Storm defense was led by the play of Nick Cragin (13 tackles, .5 sack), Keaunteu Bankhead (seven tackles), and Nick Rocco (six tackles, 1.5 sacks). They helped to hold APU to 97 yards rushing and 110 yards passing.

Dixie State will travel next week to Division I-FCS opponent Cal Poly San Luis Obisipo. This will be the third game against a DI opponent this year.

Kickoff is slated for 6:05 p.m.

(Courtesy Dixie State College)

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