ThunderWolves defensive back Stephan Dickens knows how to make a comeback.
After missing the entire 2012 season due to injury, Dickens returned in the 2013 season opener at Northern Colorado and made a game-changing impact.
A little over midway through the second quarter, with the ThunderWolves trailing the Division I UNC Bears 16-7, Dickens picked off a pass and took it 80 yards for a touchdown, cutting the Bears’ lead to 16-14 and setting up a comeback victory for the Thunderwolves.
Not only did Dickens record a momentum shifting pick-six, but he also deflected two passes from UNC quarterback Seth Lobato and made a team high 14 tackles.
That was enough for Dickens to earn Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors for the week of September 9, the second time he has earned that honor in his career.
He was also named RMAC Player of the Week in October 2011 after turning in a two-interception game against Nebraska-Kearney.
Now Dickens and the rest of the CSU-Pueblo ThunderWolves have their sights set on Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, where they will take on Division II foe Angelo State.
The game is part of the Lone Star Conference Football Festival and allows members of the Lone Star Conference, including Angelo State, to face off against the top teams in the nation under the lights at Cowboys Stadium.
The ThunderWolves will square off against Angelo State for the first time ever on Saturday, and will have what head coach John Wristen called a “tough task” against the Angelo State defense.
“They were a top-10 defense in the country last year,” Wristen said. “We’ve got our work cut out for us.”
If last Saturday is any indication, the ThunderWolves offense will be more than ready to face that challenge. New quarterback Chris Bonner debuted in a big way against UNC, going 20-for-36 while amassing 276 yards and three touchdowns in the 41-36 opening game victory.
Bonner’s number one target last week, Paul Browning, noted that while it is going to be a memorable experience playing in an NFL stadium, it is still a “business trip.”
Browning came away with seven receptions and 113 yards while scoring one touchdown Saturday, helping the ThunderWolves improve their regular season win streak to 27.
“No hangovers,” coach Wristen said of coming off the big win last week, “That’s not what being a pack football player is all about. We have to understand that game is over with.”
That streak is most impressive considering it’s the second longest active streak in any NCAA football division, trailing only the 73-game regular season win streak put together by Division III Mount Union.
As for the giant screen hanging over the field from the roof of Cowboys Stadium, Coach Wristen says his punter has a “good chance” to hit it with a punt. Other than that, it’s just a regular football stadium to him.
“It’s still 100 yards, last time I checked,” Wristen said. “The only thing anyone will remember is whether you won or lost.”
The game will be televised locally on Altitude 2, which will air on campus through channel 22, and will begin at 7 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.