By Chris Graham
A couple of big offensive plays gave the Colorado State University – Pueblo ThunderWolves the 30-24 win over the Colorado Mesa Mavericks in the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl.
There was 1:48 left before halftime and the score was 10-6 the ThunderWolves trailing. The ThunderWolf offense started their drive from their own 15 yard-line. The first play resulted in an incomplete pass from quarterback Rex Dausin. A short run from running back Marche Dennard only gaining 4 yards, Mesa called a timeout after the play with 1:31 remaining.
Dausin would complete a pass to wide receiver Clayton Lewis for 8 yards to continue the drive. Dennard would run for 6 yards on the next play, which would set up Dausin to receiver Ammon Johnson for a 19-yard gain. A short five yard pass to receiver Osha Washington would keep the clock rolling forcing the offense to hurry up and spike the ball with nine seconds left in the half.
Those nine seconds were enough for one more play and a shoot at the end zone. The ThunderWolves were on Mesa’s 43-yard line. Dausin dropped back and pressure made him roll out right and as he was rolling he pointed for his receivers to go deep. Dausin waited to the last second and threw the ball.
In the end zone were three ThunderWolf receivers and only two Maverick defenders. The ball gets bobbled around by Washington and junior receiver Josh Smith but Smith would come down with it giving the ThunderWolves a 13-10 lead going into halftime.
The ThunderWolves would carry that momentum into the third quarter as it only took three plays for the ThunderWolves to add another touchdown to their lead.
On the first play of the ThunderWolf drive would be a Dausin pass thrown perfectly over the defender to tight end Zach Boyd for a 53-yard pass. A short two yard pass to Johnson would set up a 13 yard run by Dennard to extend the ThunderWolf lead to 10.
Dennard could only get 23 yards rushing in the first half but exploded in the second half rushing for 129 yards while also getting two touchdowns. Dennard’s longest run of the night came in the middle of the fourth quarter when he ran for 53 yards. With 1:48 left in the game Dennard ran for 44 yards to put the game away.
“What a great team victory,” said ThunderWolves head football coach John Wristen, “Mesa is a heck of a football team.”
Dausin had a good day as well as he ended the game 26-42 306 yards passing a touchdown and an interception. Seven of those passes were caught by Washington which resulted in Washington getting 47 yards. Boyd led the team in receiving yards with 68.
The Pack defense had its ups and downs as the pass defense played well only allowing 175 yards passing and 56 of those yards came on an Eystin Salum touchdown pass to Virnel Moon.
“Our guys found a way to keep abattling and found a way to win,” said Wristen.
The run defense had problems stopping the Mavericks rushing attack. The Mavericks gained over 200 yards on the ground. 102 yards came from the quarterback Salum and 98 came from running back David Tann.
The ThunderWolf special teams played well for most of the game minus a 97 yard kickoff return touchdown by Virnel Moon. Redshirt freshman kick Mitchell Carter went 3-3 on field goal attempts and 3-3 on extra points. Punter Tanner Cuda also had a long 77 yard punt that put the Mavericks on their own two yard line.
“Those points were big,” said Wristen.