Eagles brace for #2 Pueblo

CHADRON – The Chadron State football team will play what shapes up as "its big game of the year," at least so far, Saturday when it visits Colorado State-Pueblo. Kickoff will be at 2 p.m. It will be the school's homecoming contest.

The ThunderWolves are 5-0 for the season and ranked No. 2 in this week's American Football Coaches Association poll behind only Pittsburg State of Kansas. After going 11-0 during the regular season a year ago, they are the defending Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference champions and were the preseason favorites during the coaches balloting this summer.

Not much has occurred to change that voting since the season kicked off.

Pueblo opened the season with wins of 44-34 over nationally-ranked West Texas A&M and 41-24 over Northeastern Oklahoma in non-conference action.

Like the 4-1 Eagles, Pueblo has begun the RMAC schedule with three victories-35-27 over Western New Mexico, 30-0 over Adams State and 50-21 over Fort Lewis.

This is the fifth year since CSU-Pueblo revived its football program. The Eagles won 32-0 the first time the teams met in 2008 while CSC was en route to its third straight conference championship. However, the ThunderWolves have won 28-17, 33-30 in triple overtime and 38-28 since then.

Only Western State, which won five consecutive times in the early 1990s, has defeated CSC four years in a row since the Eagles joined the RMAC in 1991.

Chadron State coach Jay Long said his team knows it will have a big challenge on Saturday and is excited for the opportunity.

"We've got to do our jobs, but I think we will compete well," Long said. "They don't try to trick you on either offense or defense. They mostly just line up and try to beat you with their execution and their personnel. They have a very good team that is really well coached."

Seven ThunderWolves were placed on the conference's preseason all-star team, although one of them, defensive back Stephan Dickens, is not on the team's two-deep roster this week.

The other first-team selections were quarterback Ross Dausin, running back J.B.Mathews, offensive linemen Ryan Jensen and Jonathan Jones, defensive end Corey Orth and punt return specialist Josh Sandoval.

Dausin, a 6-foot-6, 223-pound quarterback, was also selected as the RMAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Through five games, he has completed 79 of 119 passes for 1,142 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has been intercepted just once.

The Wolves have lost only three fumbles.

Dausin spreads the ball around. Sandoval leads the receivers with 16 catches for 234 yards and four of the TDs. Last year against the Eagles, Dausin completed 18 of 20 passes for 272 yards.

Sandoval also is living up to his billing as a top-drawer punt returner. He is averaging 13 yards on 11 attempts.

Mathews is another offensive standout. Just a sophomore, he has carried 127 times for 694 yards for a 5.5-yard average and seven touchdowns. His 138.8-yard per game average is second in the RMAC to Colorado Mesa's Jake Cimolino.

Both Jones and Jensen were first-team RMAC offensive line selections last season. Jones is unusual for this era. He is the team's center at just 5-8, 215 pounds, but in the words of CSC defensive coordinator Jeff Larson, "is really quick and strong."

Although they had a close call last Saturday at Adams State, the Eagles by all accounts have played well. They haven't rolled up some of the gawdy offensive yardage figures that the ThunderWolves have, but CSC has turned the ball over just five times (one interception and four fumbles).

The Eagles rank high in the conference's defensive stats despite opening the season against NCAA I-AA Montana State, which out-yarded them 401 to 135, and remains undefeated through five games.

Quarterback Jonn McLain has completed 74 of 119 passes for 789 yards, and, like Dausin, has thrown for 11 touchdowns and one interception.

Tailback Glen Clinton has rushed 89 times for 489 yards for a 5.5-yard average, the same as Mathews'.

Six Eagles have at least six receptions, led by Nathan Ross with 15 for 288 yards and four TDs. Ross is also averaging 24.2 yards on five kickoff returns and Trelan Taylor has returned eight punts for a 15.9-yard average.

Chadron State Offense
Wide receivers-Travis Reeves, 5-11, 200, Jr., and Nathan Ross, 5-11, 185, Jr.
Inside receivers-Chapman Ham, 6-2, 235, Jr., and Cody Roes, 6-2, 217, Sr.
Tackles-Garrett Gilkey, 6-7, 320, Sr., and Jake McCrary, 6-4, 260, Jr.
Guards-Mike Lorenzo, 6-2, 270, So., and Brandon Ratcliff, 6-0, 275, Sr.
Center-Sam Parker, 6-1, 280, So.
Quarterback-Jon McLain, 5-11, 185, So.
Tailback-Glen Clinton, 5-10, 200, Jr.
Placekicker-Alex Ferdinand, 5-10, 185, So.
Chadron State Defense
Ends-Keifer Burke, 6-3, 280, Sr., and Zach Sandstrom, 6-1, 255, So.
Nose tackle-Jan Karlos Medina, 6-3, 280, Sr.
Outside linebackers-Shea Koch, 6-1, 220, So., and Kevin Lindholm, 6-2, 220, Sr.
Middle linebacker-Kyle McCarthy, 6-1, 235, R-Fr.
Cornerbacks-Conor Casey, 6-2, 220, So., and Lane Haller, 6-3, 205, So.
Safetys-Bruce Huebner, 5-10, 190, Sr.; Trelan Taylor, 5-10, 195, Jr.; and Pierre Etchemendy, 6-1 200, Jr., or Clint Sasse, 5-11, 215, Jr.
Punter-Josh Borm, 6-0, 190, So.
CSU-Pueblo Offense
Wide receivers-Paul Browning, 6-3, 220, So., and Josh Sandoval, 6-0, 191, Jr.
Tight end-Roger Pfannenschmid, 6-3, 255, Sr.
Tackles-Ryan Jensen, 6-5, 311, Sr., and Bryce Givens, 6-6, 284, Sr.
Guards-Ben Jackson, 6-1, 261, Jr., and Taylor Kelly, 6-5, 255, Jr.
Center-Jon Jones, 508, 215, Sr.
Quarterback-Ross Dausin, 6-6, 223, Sr.
Tailback-J.B. Mathews, 5-11, 191, So.
Fullback-Coleman McArthur, 6-1, 232, Jr.
Placekicker-Greg O'Donnell, 6-0, 170, R-Fr.
CSU-Pueblo Defense
Ends-Corey Orth, 6-5, 256, Sr., and Darius Allen, 6-2, 218, So.
Nose guard-Tony Compton, 6-0, 274, R-Fr.
Outside linebackers-Beldy Nseka, 6-0, 201, Sr., and Taylor Young, 6-1, 205, So.
Inside linebackers-Buster Thede, 6-0, 213, Sr., and Jason Campbell, 6-0, 225, Jr.
Cornerbacks-C.J. Roberts 6-0, 180, So., and Mark Sterling, 5-11, 185, Sr.
Safetys-Jarrod Lacey, 5-11, 196, So., and Nick Henderson, 5-10, 185, or Matt Tucker, 6-1, 170, Jr.
Punter-Brandon Kliesen, 5-10, 210, Jr.

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