6,068 fans watched the CSU-Pueblo Thunderwolves struggle in the first half against the stubborn Grizzlies of Adams State last night in the Thunderwolves conference opener at the Neta and Eddie DeRose Thunderbowl. Adams State won the coin toss and elected to receive when the Thunderwolves gambled and attempted an on-side kick that went right through the hands of the CSU-Pueblo wingman and out of bounds. Adams State took over at the Thunderwolves 37 but the defense stiffened. Adam State’s David Van Morris came on to try a 34 yard field goal but CSU-Pueblo’s defensive end Grant Jansen blocked the kick and the initial threat was over.
More pressure on the defense was soon to come as on their first posession of the game Thunderwolves quarterback Ross Dausin had a pass tipped and intercepted at the CSU-Pueblo 47. Again the defense was strong, holding Adams State to three downs and a punt. The Thunderwolves offense however didn’t respond and after gaining only 4 yards on a 4th and 14 the T-wolves had to punt. Adams State took over at the CSU-Pueblo 35 and drove to the 2 only to settle for a field goal to take the lead 3-0.
On their third posession of the game Dausin was again intercepted, giving the Grizzlies the balll at the T-wolves 31. Again the defense held and Van Morris missed a 42 yard field goal wide to the left. Just before the start of the 2nd quarter the Thunderwolves offense took the field only to give the ball away again. Bernard Jackson fumbled the exchange while in the T-wolves “Blackjack” formation and it was recovered by Adams State at their own 38 but could do nothing on offense and were forced to punt.
After what was to be the first of two shanked punts by Adams State, the Thunderwolves took over at their own 41. With Jesse Lewis back and running well even with a sore knee from a torn miniscus, CSU-Pueblo started to show some life when Lewis got free and raced for a touchdown, only to have it called back because of a holding penalty. Finally, on their last posession of the first half the CSU-Pueblo offense did just enough and after the second Adams State shanked punt they took over at the Grizzlies 35. Just before the half ended Kyle Major kicked a 27 yard field goal to tie the game at 3-3.
As atrocious as the first half was, both CSU-Pueblo head coach John Wristen and Adams State head coach Marty Heaton felt fortunate to be tied. That was not to be the case in the second half as the 3rd quarter started out with a bang. CSU-Pueblo return man Marquise Enoch burst down the right sideline for a 97 yard touchdown that was blocked beautifully by the T-wolves kickoff return squad. That return woke up the Thunderwolves who then led 10-3. On Adams State’s first posession senior cornerback Chris Brown intercepted Adams State’s Trevor Eggleston at the CSU-Pueblo 35 but again the offense couldn’t move the ball.
It didn’t matter because once again the defense stepped up. Adams State took over after the punt on their own 33 and Eggleston attempted a screen pass but inside linebacker Damon Schiele read the play, intercepted the pass, and returned it 41 yards for the score. Major added the extra point and the T-wolves took a 17-3 lead. On their next posession Adams State was held to three downs and out and were forced to punt. After Enoch returned the punt 35 yards, the CSU-Pueblo offense finally got something going and on 3rd and three Jesse Lewis powered his way into the open and ran 18 yards for the touchdown. Kyle Major did his part and CSU-Pueblo was ahead 24-3.
Late in the 3rd quarter Adams State was able to put a drive together. Starting on their 28 yard line Eggleston drove the Grizzlies down the field and from the 4 connected on a short touchdown pass to his fullback Thomas Brown. Van Morris made the extra point and the score was 24-10 in favor of the Thunderwolves. Kyle Major would later add a 32 yard field goal to make the score 27-10 and near the end of the game cornerback Grant Crunkleton intercepted an Eggleston pass and 27-10 was the final score.
The Thunderwolves are now 3-0 overall and 1-0 in conference play. It was good to see Jesse Lewis back and running well. He ran for 75 yards on 15 attempts and had one touchdown and should’ve had two. Jamaal Johnson added 36 yards and Bernard Jackson ran for 45 primarily out of the Blackjack formation. Ross Dausin on the other hand had a horrible night passing. He was 7 of 18 for only 52 yards and two interceptions.
Head coach John Wristen should be very thankful that his defense showed up to play last night or the outcome could’ve been very different. When you give the other team so many starts on your side of the field, odds are that you’re going to lose the game. Last night the T-wolves defense didn’t allow that to happen and defensive coordinator Hunter Hughes should be very proud of his unit. They saved the game.
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