Kaleb Center, Sports Information Director BOX SCORE
The Chadron State College football team played Division I Utah Tech to a 7-7 standoff in the first half Saturday night at St. George, Utah, but saw the Trailblazers intercept four passes in the second half and return two of the thefts for touchdowns en route to a 56-10 Utah Tech victory.
This is the first year as Utah Tech for the former Dixie State.
In several ways, the Eagles showed improvement over their play in the season opener against Angelo State in Texas, but the turnovers were disastrous. Utah Tech also got its offense rolling in the second half to make the final score lopsided. The Trailblazers finished with 561 total net yards. The Eagles gained 303.
“Our defense kept them in front of us in the first half, but they got away from us in the second half,” CSC Head Coach Jay Long noted. “We had too many turnovers. Our offense has been outmatched in both of these games. We’ve got to get better.”
Utah Tech scored on its second possession, when running back Quail Conley scored on a 10-yard run after a 32-yard pass from quarterback Kobe Tracy to Rickie Johnson put the ball on the Eagles’ 12.
An interception by true freshman linebacker Ritchie McCormick set the stage for the Chadron State touchdown. The drive included two short passes from quarterback Heath Beemiller to wideouts Jamal Browder and Ali Musa. They were followed by Jalen Starks’ 14-yard rumble on the opening play of the second quarter. On his next carry, Starks went the final yard to the end zone. Gunnar Jones’s extra point knotted the score at 7-7.
Each team punted three times during the remainder of the second stanza, and the score remained deadlocked when Utah Tech’s 50-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds of the second period was short.
The tide began to turn early in the second half. Beemiller’s first pass of the half was intercepted by Kaejin Smith-Bejgrowicz and returned 32 yards for a touchdown. Next, the Trailblazers drove 80 yards in nine plays and scored on a seven-yard pass from Tracy to Malcolm Ross-Turner with 4 ½ minutes left in the third.
Moments later, Darrius Nash picked off another CSC pass at the Eagles’ 34-yard line. Tracy completed a 33-yard pass to Joey Hobert on the ensuing play, and Conley went the final yard to make the score 28-7.
Utah Tech scored two more touchdowns in the first 40 seconds of the fourth quarter. The first was on a 38-yard pass to Hobert and the second was on Tyrell Grayson’s interception and 40-yard return to the end zone.
Tracy and Hobert also connected on a 50-yard touchdown pass with 13:18 to play and the Trailblazers scored again with Conley going the last yard to cap an 11-play, 65-yard drive.
Eagles’ alternate quarterback Mason Hamilton completed passes of 13 and 25 yards to tight end Peter Krohn sandwiched around an 11-yard toss to Jeydon Cox to set up a 25-yard field goal by Jones with 8:57 to play.
Tracy competed 25 of 44 passes for 388 yards to go with his three touchdown strikes. Hobert was the leading receiver with six catches for 161 yards and two TDs. Conley led the Trailblazers’ ground game with 21 carries for 147 yards.
Beemiller was 12 of 27 for 121 yards through the air. Starks, who is 6-1, 245, rushed 15 times for 75 yards.
Besides making the interception that led to the Eagles’ touchdown, McCormick, who was filling in at linebacker for the injured Joey Geil, was the game’s leading tackler with 14.
The Eagles will open their Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference schedule by hosting Black Hills State at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17 at Elliott Field.
Chadron State 0 7 0 3 —-10
“ Utah Tech 7 0 21 28 —-56
UTU—Quail Conley 10 run, (Connor Brooksby kick).
CSC—Jalen Starks 1 run (Gunnar Jones kick).
UTU—Kaejin Smith-Bejgrowicz 32 interception return (Brooksby kick).
UTU—Malcolm Ross-Turner 7 pass from Kobe Tracy (Brooksby kick).
UTU—Conley 1 run (Brooksby kick).
UTU—Joey Hobert 38 pass from Tracy (Brooksby kick).
UTU—Tyrell Grayson 40 interception return (Brooksby kick).
UTU—Hobert 50 pass from Tracy (Brooksby kick).
CSC—Jones 25 field goal
UTU—Conley 1 run (Brooksby kick).