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Too Many Turnovers for Aggies in Loss

Goodwell, Okla.—The Aggies were back at Carl Wooten Field this week to play The Adams State University Grizzlies, but came up short in their brief two game home stand.  Game time weather was nearly perfect after a week of rain in the Panhandle, and the two squads came out battling.

The Aggies' defense was first up as they continued their stellar play from last week against Sterling to force ASU to punt after a 3-and-out. The offense also hit the ground running as their eight play 54-yard drive was capped by a 30-yard field goal by Carlos Nieto to put OPSU up 3-0. ASU's next drive would prove to be more productive as quarterback Codie Davies completed three consecutive passes that led ASU into Aggie territory. The Aggies, however, would respond with resiliency as cornerback Jamel Major picked up where he left off last week and intercepted Davies' very next pass at the Aggies own seven yard line. After a seesaw battle of field position through punts, Aggies quarterback Caleb Holbrook's pass was tipped and intercepted by ASU's Dylan Flannery with under a minute remaining in the opening quarter.

The "Darkside" defense for the Aggies would again respond as they forced ASU to punt the ball away. After an Aggie punt which turned into excellent field position for the Grizzlies, ASU found the end zone for the first time on a three-play 28-yard drive as Michael Carl rushed in from one yard out. The extra point attempt was blocked by freshman defensive lineman Augustine Rivas, making it the third blocked kick in the last two weeks for the Aggies. The Aggies still trailed 6-3. Later on in the quarter, the Aggies forced ASU to another missed field goal attempt, and proceeded to drive the ball 75 yards downfield. After a pass interference call inside the opponent's end zone against ASU, the Aggies fumbled on the five yard line and missed an opportunity to jump ahead.

Again the "Darkside" responded with a big third down takeaway as sophomore safety Carl Georges intercepted Davies pass inside ASU's 30 yard line. The Aggies offense then came up big on 4th and goal inside the five yard line as Holbrook connected with Chris McClendon for a four yard touchdown pass. After Nieto's kick, the Aggies led 10-6. Just before the half, ASU's Logan Beck made a long distance kick of 53 yards to make the score 10-9 headed into halftime.

The third quarter was full of big hits and lights out defense as both teams had trouble getting anything going on offense. However, with 5:28 on the clock, the ASU defense stripped and recovered a fumble by running back Justin Fogle, and returned it 80 yards to make the score 16-10; that being the only score coming in the quarter by either team.

With just under two minutes off the clock in the 4th quarter, the Aggies had a chance to tie the game inside of ASU's five yard line. They would squander that opportunity as they again fumbled away the ball in the red zone. ASU's next score came as Davies found Justin Kauffman on a 14 yard catch and score which put them up 23-10. After one more field goal, ASU finished on top as they defeated the Aggies 26-10.

For the offense, Holbrook finished 19-39 with 181 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Running back Chris McClendon finished with 154 all-purpose yards and one touchdown as he contributed on the ground and through the air. Jemine St. Louis and Ricky Backstrom both finished with three receptions for 48 and 43 yards, respectively. On defense, safety Dominique Johnson, and linebackers Dustin Clark and Tanner Hallford each led with six tackles. Georges also contributed with five tackles and a forced fumble, while Allen Maxime finished with four tackles and two quarterback sacks. The Aggies outgained ASU in total offense 362-324, but turned the ball over five times.

Coach Gaskamp stated, "Our defense played their hearts out today.  I personally challenged the defensive front seven to play as hard as they could and for the most part they did.  They were much bigger than our front seven and our kid's effort shined through.  On offense we had a number of great opportunities in the red zone and never took advantage of them.  Anytime you fumble twice inside the opponent's five yard line and miss a chip shot field goal you feel like you left 17 points out there. Myself and the offensive coaches must do a better job preparing our offensive unit to succeed in situational football, and we did not do that today.  I promise this team will continue to improve and play hard."

This week the Aggies will travel to Missoula, Montana to face another Division I opponent when they take on The University of Montana Saturday September, 21 at 2pm. Streaming video will be available through www.gogrizz.com and a link is also provided on OPSU's athletic website, football schedule page.

Justine Gaskamp

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