Sports

ThunderWolves show why they are No. 1 in the country

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ThunderWolves beat the Yellow Jackets 45-13 behind a monster game from Dausin. Photo courtesy of gothunderwolves.com
It was the kind of outcome one would expect of the No. 1 team, against a struggling opponent.

The undefeated ThunderWolves routed the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conferences’ newest member, the Black Hills State University Yellow Jackets (1-6, 1-5 RMAC), 45-13 Saturday, at the Neta and Eddie DeRose Thunderbowl, behind career performances from senior quarterback, Ross Dausin and junior wide receiver, Josh Sandoval.

The win extended the T-Wolves regular season winning streak to 23 games.

Dausin, who went 26-for-32 for 390 yards passing and four touchdowns, along with four rushes for eight yards, broke the school records for most yards gained in a game, most passing yards in a game, as well as most completed passes in a game.

“I was unaware of that, (breaking the records),” Dausin said. “That’s a great accomplishment.”

However, the accomplishments did not end there. Sandoval, who caught six passes for 124 of the 390 yards passing, had the most receiving yards since the rebirth of T-Wolf football in 2008.

“When stuff happens like that, it happens,” Sandoval said. “We’re not really worried about that, we’re just in there doing our job.”

The T-Wolves, who did not punt the ball on Saturday, accumulated 539 total yards, marking the fifth time this season the T-Wolf offense has eclipsed the 500-yard mark.

“Offensively, when you don’t have to punt, that means you’re kind of in control of the game,” head coach John Wristen said.

Of the 539 total yards gained, the T-Wolves gained 127 yards rushing without assistance of most of its top three running backs.

Running backs, sophomore J.B. Mathews and freshman Cameron McDondle did not play Saturday against the Yellow Jackets. Mathews missed the game due to injury and McDondle was held out for violating team rules. Redshirt freshman, Chris Ashe played a limited role carrying the ball five times for 17 yards and one touchdown, also with two catches for 21 yards.

Due to their unavailability, the T-Wolves had to turn to fourth string, senior running back Justin Jackson, who came into the game with eight career-rushing attempts for 33 yards. Jackson finished the game with 21 attempts for 71 yards and two catches for 14 yards, and one touchdown.

“I thought he was outstanding,” Wristen said. “You put him in that position and he stepped up. I’m very proud of him.”

Saturday also marked one of the more successful days for the T-Wolf defense, only giving up 13 points, none in the second half. After giving up a total of 59 points its last two contests, scoring defense has become an area of emphasis.

“We went in at halftime, defensive coach, coach Hughes, was not too happy about that, about them getting that many points,” sophomore cornerback C.J. Roberts said. “We had to dig deep and we had to finish faster than we started.”

The T-Wolves were able to intercept two passes from Yellow Jacket quarterback, Ward Anderson. One returned 50 yards by Roberts for a touchdown.

“Our defense had a dominant second half performance,” Wristen said. “That’s really nice.”

After a New Mexico Highlands loss to Chadron State, the T-Wolves became the final unbeaten program in RMAC conference play. The T-Wolves play New Mexico Highlands, at the Neta and Eddie DeRose Thunderbowl in two weeks.

Next Saturday, the T-Wolves travel to Grand Junction, Colo. to play the Colorado Mesa University Mavericks (3-5, 3-3 RMAC), who are coming off a 34-7 loss to Colorado School of Mines.

“We’re going to enjoy this for 24 hours, and then practice on the fundamentals,” Wristen said.