The Grizzlies kept it close early, and trailed No. 7 University of Nebrasak-Kearney by just a field goal at the half, but the Lopers’ NCAA Division II leading offense added 27 second half points to pull away and claim a 37-14 win as Adams State celebrated Homecoming 2011.
After the loss, the Grizzlies own a 2-3 record and are now 0-3 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) action. The Lopers improve to 5-0 with the win and sport a 3-0 league mark.
Adams State became the first team to hold the Lopers under 500 yards of total offense this season, though UNK approached that mark in outgaining ASC 490-290.
The Grizzlies gained a majority of their yards through the air as junior quarterback Trevor Eggleston (Tucson, Ariz.) was good on 24-of-41 passes for 225 yards, finding senior Dustin Bolt (Alamosa, Colo.) nine times for 98 yards and the Grizzlies lone touchdown of the second half.
Nebraska-Kearney ran the ball 54 times Saturday, gaining 236 yards on the ground while also passing 254 on 21 attempts. Stephan Rush led the ground attack, carring 20 times for 105 yards, while quarterback Jake Spitzlberger and running back Ricky Trinidad each had 14 rushes as well for 66 and 56 yards, respectively.
ASC found itself in the red-zone quickly, and had a 1st-and-goal from the 2-yard line on the opening drive of the game after Eggleston found Bolt for a 41-yard gain. But on 2nd-and-goal Arthur Hobbs recorded the Lopers first of three interceptions.
It took just two plays for the Grizzlies to take the ball back, when a Rocco DeLorenzo (Arvada, Colo.) sack knocked the ball from the hands of Spitzlberger and was picked up by freshman Connor Stevens (Colorado Springs, Colo.) at the Nebraska-Kearney 22-yard line.
But after back-to-back completions by Eggleston for 15 yards, an interception on 1st-and-goal from the seven ended another ASC possession.
Following a scoreless first quarter, the Lopers were the first on the board just 45 seconds into the second quarter. Spitzlberger capped off a 13-play, 73-yard drive with a 1-yard rush to grab a 7-0 lead.
But the Grizzlies answered right back with a scoring drive of their own, marching 77 yards on 12 plays. ASC received help from a pair of UNK penalites, but once inside the 10-yard line the Grizzlies gave the ball to senior running back Terjean Saffold (Stockton, Calif.) on three straight carries, concluding with a 1-yard scoring run.
The Lopers would put a quick 10 points on the board, starting with a Nic Stoll 34-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, and then with a Rush touchdown on their first possession of the second half to make the lead 17-7 with 12:51 left in the third.
Stoll’s second of three field goals in the game extended the lead to 20-7 before Eggleston would pass for 59 yards and hit on all four attempts on the very next drive, capping the drive with a 6-yard TD pass to Bolt to make the score 20-14, where it would remain as the third quarter ended.
But the nation’s top-ranked offense, which came in averaging 55.25 points and 644.5 yards per game, tacked on 17 unanswered in the final 15 minutes.
Junior defensive back James Ackel (Riverside, Calif.) was ASC’s top tackler, bringing down ball-carriers 13 times on Saturday and recording 1 tackle for loss of 1 yard. DeLorenzo was good for seven tackles in the game, while also forcing two fumbles and a sack for two yards.
Adams State returns to the road next Saturday for a 6 p.m. match-up against New Mexico Highlands. The Cowboys suffered their first loss of the season on Saturday, dropping a 15-14 decision on the road against Western State in Gunnison, Colo. NMHU is now 4-1 on the season and 2-1 in RMAC action.