Oct 1, 2011 9:46 PM by Jordan Mason
CHADRON, Neb. (GoThunderWolves.com - Oct. 1, 2011) - In one of the marquee grudge matches in all the RMAC, CSU-Pueblo held off a Chadron State squad hellbent on beating the ThunderWolves during its Homecoming, riding a near-perfect offensive performance in a 38-28 win over the Eagles Saturday.
CSU-Pueblo's win makes it the first RMAC team to win three straight over the Eagles since most of its players were in Kindergarten. From 1993 to 1995, Chadron State, a perennial RMAC powerhouse, lost three straight to Western State. Since, it hadn't lost any more than two straight to any opponent - until Saturday.
CSU-Pueblo never trailed as it got the game of a lifetime from quarterback Ross Dausin. Dausin, who has been so-so thus far in 2011 despite not throwing a pick and leading CSU-Pueblo to an undefeated start, broke out Saturday. Dausin only missed two receivers, going 18-for-20 for 272 yards and two touchdowns.
But more than stats, Dausin's greatest accomplishment was his decision-making. He completed passes to nine different receivers, checking down frequently, completing a total of seven passes to running backs throughout the day.
The opened-up passing game was helped along by a rushing attack that also spread it around. For the first time since the 2010 opener, Jesse Lewis was not the leading rusher as true freshman J.B. Mathews enjoyed a breakout game, going over 100 all-purpose yards in a game for the first time in his collegiate career. Mathews logged 77 rushing yards with two scores to go along with a four-catch, 61-yard receiving performance. He also added another 44 yards on kickoff returns.
Mathews' day didn't overshadow Lewis by any means. The All-American had perhaps the biggest play of the day - a 70-yard screen pass that he nearly marched in for a score - that set up a touchdown toss from Dausin to Josh Sandoval at the end of the second half that broke a 14-14 tie and gave the ThunderWolves a 21-14 halftime lead. Coupled with the Pack's field goal on the opening drive of the second half, the ThunderWolves wouldn't allow the Eagles to get any closer than three.
Not to be lost in the free-for-all was All-American linebacker Lee Meisner. Not only did he have a team-high nine tackles, but his two interceptions, one coming in the red zone in the second quarter and the other during the final desperation drive of the game as the Pack led by 10, were the defensive daggers for the Eagles.
Now at 5-0 and 3-0 in RMAC play, the ThunderWolves, who entered the game ranked 14th-nationally, will likely move up the polls after three top 15 teams lost Saturday. They will try to keep their record unblemished on the big stage Thursday when it hosts Colorado School of Mines for the CBS College Sports Game of the Week at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:06 p.m.