The ThunderWolves got an early choke hold on the Rangers and never let go.
Mark Sterling got the ball rolling in the game’s first big play by intercepting Ranger quarterback Kyle Jech on the third play from scrimmage. The turnover turned into the first points scored when senior place-kicker Kyle Major was true on a 32-yard field goal.
The ThunderWolves missed out in the end zone however, when Josh Sandoval dropped a sure catch in the back of the north end zone.
The Rangers made another key mistake on there very next possession when punter P.J. Stimson bobbled the snap and was forced down after a 12-yard loss. The ThunderWolves took over the ball deep in Ranger territory and didn’t waste this opportunity as they found the end zone for the first time.
Ross Dausin, CSU-Pueblo junior quarterback, hooked up with senior tight end on a 17-yard touchdown pass to increase the ThunderWolves’ lead to 10-0, just minutes into the first quarter. The ThunderWolves continued to pile it on with another early scoring two minutes later.
Senior running back Jesse Lewis broke his longest run of the year with a 56-yard run after the defense forced a three and out. Lewis, the All-RMAC preseason first team selection, struggled in the season opener but quickly turned it around rushing 75-yards on 11 carries, adding three touchdowns.
Mistakes continued to plague the Ranger offense all night. When Jackson threw his second interception of the game to Lee Meisner almost turned into another CSU-Pueblo touchdown, but Meisner tripped up with one man to beat on the Ranger 30-yard line.
CSU-Pueblo’s defense came up with big plays throughout the game. Sophomore cornerback came up with a big 14-yard sack to halt another Ranger drive once again. The Pack’s defense had 9 tackles for losses and three quarterback sacks. They also forced the two turnovers.
Many players were playing in front of the home crowd for the first time in their career, including red shirt freshman wide receiver Paul Browning. Browning caught his first career touchdown for the Pack to go along with his other 4 receptions.
“Kind of surreal (the touchdown catch), but I figured there is more to come.” Browning said. “We are just going to try and keep moving forward as a team.”
Browning’s touchdown all but sealed the game for the Pack early in the fourth quarter.
“Overall I think that we are stack as a team.” Browning said. “We just need to keep focused and on the right track”.
Most of the starters were out by the end of the third quarter, so a lot of second and third stringers got significant playing time. One ThunderWolf out getting some much needed experience was freshmen running back J.B. Mathews. Mathews took advantage of his fifteen carries and turned them into 75 rushing yards.
The ThunderWolves open conference play next weekend on the road as they travel to Adams State to take on the Grizzles.