Courtesy of Adams State Athletics
ALAMOSA, Colo. - Led by sophomore quarterback Trevor Eggleston (Tucson, Ariz.), the Adams State College football team racked up 576 yards of total offense helping assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Manny Wasinger celebrate his 50th birthday as the Grizzlies picked up a season-opening win for the first time since 2006, 34-14 over visiting Dixie State College of Utah Saturday afternoon here at Rex Stadium.
Eggleston completed 17 of 23 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns as both junior Shane McBurney (Chandler, Ariz.) and sophomore Scott Kellogg (Littleton, Colo.) had 100-yard receiving days for the Grizzlies, who also picked up a non-conference win for the first time since 2006. The Grizzlies also moved the ball on the ground as junior Terjean Saffold (Stockton, Calif.) ran for 101 yards and a game-clinching score.
The Grizzly defense was just as impressive, limiting the Red Storm to just 23 net rushing yards while picking up a defensive score of their own, a second-quarter James Ackel (Riverside, Calif.) 31-yard interception return that put the Grizzlies up 27-7 with just over a minute left in the first half.
Red storm quarterbacks Nick Marinko and Jake Lammers, responsible for the interception, were also held to just three combined completions on their first 21 attempts before freshman Cody Stevenson came on to complete six of 12 passes for 88 yards and a score, the Red Storm's only offensive points with 8:03 to go.
The Grizzlies controlled things from the start and led 7-0 after Eggleston hit Kellogg, who had six catches for 114 yards overall, for a 50-yard catch-and-run just 8:08 into the contest.
The Grizzly defense, which forced nine punts while coming up with a pair of fourth-down stops, then used one of Cody Browne's (Riverside, Calif.) two sacks to force a Red Storm punt before a 58-yard Eggleston pass to redshirt freshman running back Chris Jamison (Mesa, Ariz.) allowed the Grizzlies to move to the Red Storm-11.
However, the Grizzlies went backwards before sophomore David Van Voris (Elizabeth, Colo.) missed the first of his two 45-yard field goals attempts, temporarily keeping the Red Storm in the game.
Eggleston would later lead the Grizzlies on a 10-play, 80-yard drive capped by a 1-yard scoring pass to Delton Prescott, Jr. (Phoenix, Colo.) as the Grizzlies went up 13-0 despite a bobbled snap on the ensuing PAT that holder Jake Long (Glendale, Ariz.) nearly converted for two points.
The Grizzly defense then forced another Red Storm punt before the Grizzlies marched all the way to a Red Storm-1. Stopped there on back-to-back plays, the Grizzlies then went for it on a fourth down, a decision that backfired as Thomas Brown (Mesa, Ariz.) fumbled a pitch from junior quarterback Sean McDougal (Arvada, Colo.) that Dixie State's Chris Aragon picked up and returned 96 yards and for a score that brought the Red Storm within 13-7.
With the potential 14-point swing and momentum totally against them, the Grizzlies quickly recovered as Eggleston hit a streaking McBurney for an 85-yard pass and catch down the left sideline that allowed the Grizzlies to go up 20-7 on the Van Voris point after. That catch was the longest in Adams State's NCAA Division II era (1992-Present) history and was the beginning of the end for the Red Storm who later saw Ackel step in front of Lammers' pass returning it for the touchdown that put the Grizzlies, who scored 20 points in the second quarter, up by that margin at the break.
Neither team would score in the third quarter before Saffold darted through a wide-open hole in the Red Storm defense just 1:32 into the fourth putting the Grizzlies up 27.
Stevenson then picked on the Grizzly secondary in his first career action completing a 36-yard pass to Kyser Christiansen on his first pass. After using two Grizzly penalties to his team's advantage, Stevenson and then found Christiansen for another 23-yard pass before a 5-yard connection to a leaping Nash Fowler just inside the end-zone closed out the scoring with 8:03 left.
The Grizzlies' 576 yards of offense were the most in almost five years and the third most in the NCAA Division II era. Eggleston, who recorded his second career 300-yard game while improving to 5-2 as a starter, and McDougal, combined for 381 through the air, almost the Grizzlies' best total since 2005.
The Grizzly defense came up six total sacks and two other stops behind the line of scrimmage giving up just 101 yards until Stevenson came in for the final two drives. Thomas Porter (San Ramon, Calif.) had two of those tackles for losses and one sack while finishing with six tackles. Redshirt freshman Dylan Flannery (Chandler, Ariz.) also had six tackles in a balanced effort.
The Grizzlies will now head out on the road to face Division I-FCS Northern Colorado next Saturday (Sept. 4) in Greeley. Kick-off is at 1:35 p.m. and can be heard live on KSPK-FM (104.1 in Alamosa).
The Red Storm will return home to St. George, Utah to face nationally-ranked Central Washington next Saturday evening at 7 o'clock.