Pack drops third straight, fall to Kearney


fb1.jpgCoaches preach finishing a game strong, but a weak beginning can render that mantra moot. That holds especially true when you are facing a big, physical opponent.

Two first quarter turnovers proved costly for Colorado State University-Pueblo as Nebraska-Kearney capitalized on the ThunderWolves’ miscues en route to a 41-10 win. The loss extended the ThunderWolves’ losing streak to three games.

“It was tough out there today,” CSU-Pueblo defensive end Chase Vaughn said. “We made a lot of mental mistakes and they capitalized on it.”

Nebraska-Kearney true freshman running back Rustin Dring paced the Lopers (3-3, 3-1) with 181 yards on 25 carries, highlighted by a 98-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that left many in the crowd stunned and some heading for the exits.

“We struggled to match up physically with them,” CSU-Pueblo coach John Wristen sfb2.jpgaid.

The Lopers finished the game with 223 yards on the ground. For the third straight game the ThunderWolves rushing attack was held in check, finishing with an insignificant 23 yards on 30 carries.

A strong wind out of the south made it very difficult for CSU-Pueblo quarterback Joe Vigil to complete throws downfield.

“The wind was unbelievable. That first throw slipped out of his hand and fluttered,” Wristen said, referring to Vigil’s interception on the ThunderWolves’ first possession.

Vigil offered no excuses after the game, though.

“It wasn’t the wind, you’ve got to overcome that,” he said.

Coming off a strong performance last week against the Colorado School of Mines Vigil struggled, committing fives turnovers.

However, there was controversy surrounding a Vigil fumble in the first quarter. On that play Vigil’s arm appeared to be going forward as he let go of the ball. Officials ruled the play a fumble and Loper defensive end Josh Rohde picked up the ball in the end zone.

“They did a good job of reading the play, but I thought I threw it,” Vigil said.

CSU-Pueblo running back Layton Dickerson provided a huge spark off the bench. The freshman rushed for 40 yards in the final quarter including a 28-yard burst resulting in the ThunderWolves’ only
touchdown of the game.

“We’ve got to rebound, and we can’t go into a hole,” Vigil said. “We’ve got to learn from this game and the focus has to be Mesa next week.”

The Pack (2-3, 1-3) will travel to the western slope next Saturday where it will face Mesa St. (4-2, 4-0) in Grand Junction at 7 p.m. They will return to home Oct. 18 for their homecoming game against New Mexico Highlands (1-5, 1-3).