Chadron State scored the first 10 points, and despite giving up a 54-yard touchdown pass with nine seconds left in the second quarter, trailed Colorado State-Pueblo by just 14-10 at halftime.
However, with a brisk west wind at their backs, the ThunderWolves tallied 28 points in the third period and defeated the Eagles 42-17 in a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference game played in Chadron on Saturday afternoon.
Now 4-2 overall and 4-0 in the conference, the Wolves outgained the Eagles 410 to 330 yards, and were aided by three pass interceptions and a strip fumble that they converted into a touchdown on the next play.
“We can’t turn the ball over to a good team like Pueblo and expect to win,” Chadron State Coach Jay Long said. “I’m disappointed. I don’t know what else to say. We did a good job early in the game, but a lot of things went wrong in the third quarter.”
The Eagles are now 2-4 for the season and 2-3 in the RMAC.
Chadron State drove the opening kickoff 66 yards in eight plays before settling for a 26-yard field goal by Gunnar Jones.
The Eagles went ahead 10-0 early in the second quarter after CSC quarterback Dalton Holst connected with Ali Musa on a 46-yard pass that carried to the Pueblo 14. Alternate tailback Dorian Collier scored six plays later on fourth and goal from the one.
The Wolves drove 80 yards in 12 plays for their first touchdown, which came on a three-yard pass from quarterback Devin Williams to Nick Bingham.
The Eagles fumbled away the ensuing kickoff, but stopped that threat when cornerback Bobby Peele made a diving interception at the two-yard line. Chadron State was forced to punt, but Jones’s 60-yard boot, combined with a penalty against the Wolves left them at their own 15 with only 54 seconds left before halftime.
Williams completed four straight passes, the longest a 14-yarder, before connecting with Matt Fine on a 56-yarder for the go-ahead touchdown with just nine seconds left on the clock.
The ThunderWolves also got the third period off to a great start. Chadron State’s first pass of the quarter was picked off by linebacker Patrick Howell and returned 23 yards to the end zone.
Pueblo tailback Michael Roots scored the Wolves’ next three touchdowns, giving his team a 42-10 lead and the end of the third.
He initially scored on the first play after the Eagles fumbled the ball at their own 20 and the Wolves’ Max Gonzales recovered at the CSC two. Just over three minutes later, after a Chadron State punt into the wind went only 11 yards, he caught a 20-yard scoring pass from Williams. Then with 46 seconds left in the third, Roots bolted 56 yards up the middle for the game’s longest play.
Roots, a 5-11, 211-pound senior, finished with 20 carries for 136 yards and four receptions for 37 yards.
The Eagles posted the only points in the fourth frame, when sophomore tailback Jeydon Cox went the final yard after the Wolves’ punt from out of their own end zone went just 10 yards and the Eagles took over on the visitors’ 11.
With the Eagles forced to play without their leading ball carrier, Elijah Myles, because of an injury, Cox took up a lot of the slack. The 5-8, 170-pound sophomore rushed 18 times for 110 yards and caught six passes for 58.
Holst completed 17 of 29 passes for 181 yards, but was intercepted three times after throwing just two picks in 163 attempts entering the game.
Williams completed 23 of 31 passes for 219 yards. Nick Williams, apparently no relation, was the Wolves’ leading receiver with eight catches for 57 yards.
Linebackers Joey Geil and Noah Kerchal combined for 21 tackles to lead the Eagles. Gonzales paced Pueblo with eight.
The Eagles will visit Adams State and Pueblo will play at New Mexico Highlands this coming Saturday, Oct. 16
First Downs 24 16
Total Net Yards 410 330
Rushes, Yards 32-191 35-149
Passing Yards 219 181
Passing 23-31-1 17-39-3
Return Yards 73 20
Fumbles, Lost 0-0 2-2
Penalties, Yards 9-17 1-15
Colorado State-Pueblo 0 14 28 0 —-42
Chadron State 3 7 0 7 —-17
CSC—Gunnar Jones 26 field goal
CSC—Dorian Collier 1 run (Jones kick)
CSU-P—Nick Bingham 3 pass from Devin Williams (Dean Faithful kick)
CSU-P—Max Fine 54 pass from Williams (Faithful kick)
CSU-P—Patrick Howell 23 interception return (Faithful kick)
CSU-P—Michael Roots 2 run (Faithful kick)
CSU-P—Roots 20 pass from Williams (Faithful kick)
CSU-P—Roots 56 run (Faithful kick)
CSC—Jeydon Cox 1 run (Jones kick)