Rocco sacks records in 43-21 loss

ELLENSBURG, WASH. (Sept. 18) – Senior defensive end Nick Rocco recorded three sacks and four tackles for loss – setting Dixie State College school records in both categories – as a bright spot in the Red Storm in a 43-21 defeat to #25 Central Washington in conference action at Tomlinson Stadium.
Dixie State remained winless on the season (0-4, 0-3 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) and continued a dubious slide of road futility. The Red Storm have not won a game away from St. George since November 8, 2008 at Humboldt State. The nationally ranked Wildcats evened their record to 2-2 and 2-0 in the GNAC.
Rocco etched his name into the DSC record book for the first time with 3:48 left in the third quarter when he sacked Central QB Ryan Robertson at the 10-yard line for his third sack. He bested the previous mark by one-half sack set twice in 2008 by Chad Frank and Manu Mafi.
The Sammamish, WA native had not let the ink dry in the record book before making another entry in the fourth quarter. On the Wildcats’ last offensive drive, backup quarterback David Weisner fumbled their first snap. Rocco tackled the signal caller for a loss, his fourth stop of that kind. Former DSC linebacker Micah Harward set the standard last season at Cal Poly with 3.5 tackles for loss before Rocco topped him on Saturday.
Dixie State spotted Central an early advantage when the second offensive snap of the game sailed over the head of Cody Stevenson and out of the end zone for a safety. The Wildcats marched down their home field on their first offensive possession and increased their lead to 9-0 after Roberston connected with a wide-open Jamal Weems for a 25-yard touchdown.
Central running back Bryson Kelly notched the first two of his three scoring runs with a scamper up the middle of the field for 30 yards at the tail end of the first quarter and a leap over the line from one-yard out in the second to up the Wildcat advantage to 23-0.
The Wildcat defense contributed for the next score. Stan Langlow retrieved a loose ball going 22 yards for a touchdown.
Jesse Ence put Dixie State on the scoreboard with 6:38 remaining in the half rushing on fourth down for 28 yards for a 30-7 halftime score.
Central marched down the field on the opening possession of the third quarter and capped the journey with a Sean Davis 43-yard field goal. Davis later added a booming kick from 46 for Central’s concluding score.
Kelly punched in his final score, again from one yard, with 6:08 in the third quarter for a 40-7 advantage. The 10 points allowed were the first allowed in the third quarter by the Red Storm defense this season.
Dixie State controlled the tempo of the game in the fourth quarter outscoring the Wildcats 14-3. Kyser Christensen hauled in a Stevenson (20-for-32, 197 yards) pass and pushed the pigskin past the pylon on the second play of the quarter.
Late in the game, freshman backup quarterback Spencer Young finished a 3-for-3 drive with a nine-yard strike to Zach Fox.
Although the final margin was 23 points, Central outgained Dixie State by only eight offensive yards (278-270). The Wildcats took advantage scoring 14 points off three Dixie State turnovers (two fumbles, one interception).
Cameron Greene led Dixie State with eight tackles – Rocco and Nick Cragin (6) followed. Nash Fowler was once again Stevenson’s favorite target catching seven passes for 96 yards.
The Red Storm have an open date next week. They return to GNAC action on Oct. 2 against Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. Kickoff north of the border is scheduled for 3 p.m. Pacific (4p.m. MST).

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