Through the haze of over 1,100 combined total yards, Tyrell Williams hauled in two touchdowns over 65 yards and A.J. Hull returned an interception for a touchdown leading Western Oregon to a 46-34 win over Dixie State in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play.
Senior quarterback Griff Robles (Spanish Fork, UT/Spanish Fork) threw for a career-high 460 yards on 38-of-56 passing with four touchdown passes. His favorite target was senior tight end Joe Don Duncan (Corona, CA/Notre Dame) who had 14 catches, his best total in a Dixie State uniform, for 170 yards. Duncan was held without a TD reception for the first time in seven games.
Senior wide receiver Mitch Frei (Santa Clara, UT/Snow Canyon) caught seven passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns – a feat he has achieved only one other time in his career (Oct. 27, 2012 against Simon Fraser).
Sophomore tailback Myles Burton (Berkeley, CA/Rodriguez) led the running attack with 47 rushing yards for the Red Storm. Joel Davis (Natchez, MS/Natchez) added 26 yards in his first action in three weeks.
Defensively, senior Jake Duncan (Corona, CA/Notre Dame) and juniors Jake Miller (Tremonton, UT/Bear River) & Zac Christian (Plain City, UT/Fremont) each had six tackles. Christian added a pair of interceptions and redshirt freshman Deshawn Perkins (West Jordan, UT/West Jordan) recovered a fumble.
Despite the solid individual performances, Dixie State (2-5/2-4 GNAC) could not stop Western Oregon (4-3, 4-2 GNAC) on big plays and crucial third/fourth down conversions.
The Wolves scored on their opening possession of the game, driving 61 yards in eight plays. Michael Reeve hauled in the first of four Ryan Bergman TD passes for the early 7-0 lead. Both teams has sustained subsequent drives stalled out by punts before the Red Storm scored late in the first quarter.
Dillon Bishoff (Monroe, UT/South Sevier) booted a 22-yard field goal capping a 14-play, 85-yard drive to make the score 7-3.
The Storm forced WOU to punt, but the first of the Wolves' three big plays pushed the lead to 14-3. A.J. Hull went to the house with a pick-six of Robles on a drive that could have given Dixie State its first lead.
Western Oregon returned the mistake favor on the next drive. On a high punt, Perkins recovered a fumble by Lucas Gonsalves. On the next play, Robles connected with Randon Willard for a 20-yard score.
The shootout officially sparked on the first play of WOU's next drive. Big play number two made the score 20-10 - a wide-open pitch and catch touchdown from Bergman to Williams for 74 yards.
Dixie fumbled away its next possession on the 13th play of the drive. Duncan lost the football inside the five-yard line, recovered by WOU. Christian pulled in the first of his picks two plays into the next drive and set up DSU for another touchdown. Robles scored from 11 yards out to make the score 20-17.
With a short clock, Western Oregon tacked on another TD to lead 27-17 at halftime.
Williams notched the third big play on the first play of the Wolves' opening drive in the second half. Bergman hit his flanker for 67 yards and a 34-17 lead.
A second Bishoff field goal closed the gap to 34-20 before Devauntee Hoffman added a score for the Wolves.
Robles two scoring plays to Frei put the Storm within six points. In the third quarter, Frei evaded two tackles on his way for a 22-yard score. Early in the 4th quarter, a leaping grab in the near corner completed Frei's great individual performance.
The Storm set the stage for the comeback after blocking a Jose Correa field goal and setting up a drive with 7:47 remaining. Robles hit a big play over the middle to Duncan and another 18-yard completion to Antonio Morton (Seattle, WA/Ballard) down to the WOU 12. The drive stalled on a pair on WOU sacks by William Kanongata'a.
Hoffman added an insurance touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Bergman threw for 407 yards and four touchdowns. Williams accounted for 184 yards on just five grabs. Hull led the WOU defense with 12 tackles.
Dixie State remains at home next week for its annual Homecoming game. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. as the Red Storm host Humboldt State.