For the second time this season, DSU saw an opposing place kicker win a football game with a field goal in the final seconds. This time, it was sophomore Jamie Cacciatore with a 25-yarder to give the Cougars their first Great Northwest Athletic Conference outright title.
Dixie State saw a two-game win streak snapped to fall to 4-6 on the season and 4-5 in the GNAC despite not trailing until the 2:39 mark of the fourth quarter. The Cougars won their sixth straight, improving to 8-2/8-1 GNAC.
The defenses came to play early forcing punts while the first of two Tyler Thornton interceptions of Griff Robles (Spanish Fork, UT/Spanish Fork) kept the game scoreless after the first quarter.
Dixie State scored on its first drive of the second quarter. Robles and Joel Davis (Natchez, MS/Natchez) rushed the ball five times setting up successive completions to Joe Don Duncan (Corona, CA/Notre Dame). The second catch from 10 yards put the Red Storm up 6-0.
The next Azusa drive ended on a fumble, but the Cougars took back possession of the ball two plays later with a pick from Sean Barber. Eight plays later, Cacciatore connected from 19 yards with 2:16 left in the half to cut the DSU lead to 6-3 heading into halftime.
DSU marched down the field opening up the third quarter. Davis sparked the scoring drive with a 17 yard run. Mitch Frei (Santa Clara, UT/Snow Canyon) capped the possession with a 10-yard TD grab for a 13-3 lead. APU answered with another Cacciatore field goal to make the score 13-6 at the end of three quarters.
The Cougars tied the game early in the final quarter when Terrell Watson scored from five yards out. The score was his 18th rushing touchdown of the year, matching the single-season GNAC record. After the Red Storm ensuing possession stalled, APU took their first lead, 20-13. on a Ronald Douglas scoring run of three yards.
Two big plays from Frei – a 25-yard grab with one hand - and Davis – a 44-yard score on a screen pass knotted the game at 20-20 with 1:51 remaining in regulation.
APU used the final moments and three timeouts to set up Cacciatore for the game-winning field goal from 25 yards out.
Azusa Pacific narrowly outgained the Storm 414-399 overall. The APU advantage was on the ground was 143-136 and through the air it ended 271-263.
Robles was 19-of-32 on the night for 263 yards. He tossed three touchdowns and ran for another 74 yards on 17 carries. Davis rushed for 59 yards on 12 carries. Frei made six overall grabs for 86 yards. Junior safety Justin Ence (St. George, UT/Pineview) recorded a career-high 12 tackles and Jake Duncan (Corona, CA/Notre Dame) added nine stops in front of family and friends.
Dasmen Stewart completed 23-of-34 passes for 271 yards. Watson ended with 123 yards on the ground.
Dixie State closes the 2013 season next Saturday at 6 p.m. against Central Washington at Hansen Stadium. Prior to the game, the Red Storm will honor the senior class with an on-field celebration