CHADRON—Quarterback Ross Dausin completed 18 of 20 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns and was not intercepted or sacked here Saturday afternoon while guiding Colorado State-Pueblo to a 38-28 victory over Chadron State in a early-season showdown in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
Both teams entered the contest with 2-0 conference records. Pueblo, which was ranked No. 14 in Division II entering the game, is now 5-0 for the season while the Eagles are 2-3.
Dausin, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound junior from San Antonio, has now completed 64 of 99 passes for 723 yards and has not been intercepted this fall. Big plays that he triggered set up three of his team’s touchdowns.
Pueblo opened the scoring on its first possession on J.B. Mathews three-yard run to cap a 60-yard drive in 10 plays.
Both teams scored two touchdowns in the second quarter.
The Eagles initially drove 56 yards on nine plays with quarterback Brandon Gorsuch hitting inside receiver Cody Roes with a four-yard toss in the end zone.
The ThunderWolves responded by going 63 yards in 12 plays with tailback Jesse Lewis going the final four yards after he’d had runs of seven and eight yards and caught a nine-yard pass.
Chadron State was on the march again after Quinell Atkins returned the kickoff 61 yards to the Pueblo 39, but linebacker Lee Meisner picked off Gorsuch’s pass after the Eagles had reached the 19.
The Eagles still tied the score at 14-14 with 1:43 left before halftime after Roes caught passes of eight and 19 yards and Gorsuch went the final yard.
Pueblo mishandled the ensuing kickoff and had to start at its own 10-yard line. But the ThunderWolves came up with the day’s biggest play to squash the Eagles’ momentum.
Dausin lofted a screen pass to Lewis, who broke a couple of tackles and raced 70 yards down the sideline in front of his team’s bench. Mathews gained 10 yards on two running plays and Dausin drilled a 10-yard strike to Josh Sandoval over the middle to put Pueblo ahead 21-14 at halftime.
Pueblo opened the scoring in the second half on Kyle Major’s 50-yard field goal, but Chadron State soon closed the gap to 24-21 with a 74-yard drive. Tailback Glen Clinton scored on an 18-yard run after Gorsuch had hooked up with Travis Reeves for 19 yards and Jeremy Sondrup for 11 and 18 yards.
The ThunderWolves increased their lead to 31-21 with 4:39 left in the third frame on a three-yard run by Mathews shortly after Dausin found Jared Sperber for a 45-yard pass play.
Pueblo added another TD on its first possession of the fourth quarter on Dausin’s 7-yard pass to Da’Quan Cartwright after Mathews had carried a short pass for a 37-yard gain to set the stage.
Chadron answered on Clinton’s two-yard run with 5:49 to play after Gorsuch had hit Chapman Ham with a 34-yard pass.
However, the Eagles’ final two possessions ended with turnovers.
Gorsuch completed 29 of 44 passes for 315 yards, but the interceptions were costly.
“Our offense was better today,” CSC coach Bill O’Boyle said. “Our quarterback is improving all the time, but the interceptions and some of the big plays we gave up killed us. I was proud that our kids played hard until the last down. Pueblo is a good team and made almost no mistakes.”
The win was the ThunderWolves third straight over Chadron State after the Eagles won the inaugural contest between the schools in 2008.
Pueblo finished with 452 total net yards compared to CSC’s 379. Meisner, the RMAC’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, led his team in tackles with nine. CSC linebackers James Belville and Kevin Lindholm were credited with 11 and nine, respectively.