The Paw Print
Over 3500 fans filled the stands on “Blackout Night” to watch the Adams State Grizzlies take on the number18 ranked CSU-Pueblo Thunderwolves in a rivalry battle of the unbeatens that went down to the wire last Saturday night. The Grizzlies (2-1) came up short in a 20-11 loss following their first 2-0 start since 1996, despite solid performances by quarterback Trevor Eggleston (Tucson, Ariz.) and running back Terjean Saffold (Stockton, Calif.).
CSU-Pueblo (3-0), led by senior running back Jesse Lewis (Loveland, Colo.) and his 208-yard performance, kept their winning streak going against ASC, making it three straight victories against their conference rival.
The game had all of the makings for an instant classic right from the start, as CSU-P star kicker Kyle Major (Littleton, Colo.) lined up for a 60-yard field goal on the game’s second possession. The kick fell short and ASC took over possession in good field position, driving the ball down to the red zone with help from a key third-down screen pass to senior running back Terjean Saffold. The Grizzlies were stopped, however, leading to a missed field goal of their own, keeping the score tied at zero.
The first score of the game came after a muffed punt return by ASC, setting up a 17-yard touchdown pass from Thunderwolves quarterback Ross Dausin (San Antonio, Tex.) to Paul Browning (Widefield, Colo.) with 5:35 left in the first quarter.
The second quarter saw a revamped Grizzly defense as a sack of Dausin caused a fumble recovered by ASC and returned all the way to the Pueblo 35-yard line. The ensuing drive saw a spectacular juggling catch by junior wide receiver Scott Kellogg (Littleton, Colo.), which led to a 21 yard field goal by junior David Van Voris (Elizabeth, Colo.).
CSU-Pueblo responded on the following drive, along with the help of Lewis’ rushing and a costly third-down penalty committed by ASC. Dausin connected for another touchdown pass with 5:36 left in the half, this time to tight end Roger Pfannenschmid (Pueblo, Colo.).
On the final drive of the half, ASC looked sharp, driving down the field with two huge conversions; one on third-down and one on fourth-down, to keep the drive alive. With :35 seconds left in the half and ASC knocking on the door of the end zone, CSU-P committed a pass interference penalty on third-down, setting up a first-and-goal for Eggleston and company.
As time wound down, Eggleston dropped back and threw a bullet, but the pass was tipped by a Thunderwolf defender, leading to a wild interception and ending the half with ASC trailing 14-3.
The Grizzly defense came out with a new fire once again in the third quarter, pushing Pueblo back for negative yardage on their first drive, and holding them to just 6 points the entire second half.
The ASC offense looked to have new life in the second half as well. After a CSU-P field goal with 4:22 left in the third quarter, the Grizzly return team showed that they had a few tricks up their sleeve with a reverse, leading to nice field position.
A nice drive including another fourth-down conversion and one of many personal foul penalties in the game led to a 5-yard Terjean Saffold touchdown run, with 11:54 left in the game. ASC immediately made the decision to go for the two-point conversion following the score, and James Ackel (Riverside, Calif.) was able to punch it in, making the score 17-11.
More penalties marred the next Pueblo drive, but Lewis broke free with a 39-yard run to set up another field goal for the kicker Major.
After a 3-and-out drive for ASC, a fumble by CSU-P set up the Grizzlies at the opponent’s 27-yard line with 5:51 left in the game. Unfortunately, the Griz were unable to get past the common theme of red zone turnovers as the ‘Wolves got another interception in the end zone.
The bad luck continued after the Grizzlies got the ball back once again with just minutes remaining, but saw another ball fall into the hands of a CSU-P defender with just 2:04 left, setting up a Jesse Lewis 49-yard run to cap off the game, with ASC falling 20-11.
It was easy to see the mutual feelings the teams had for each other, with 14 penalties, several of which were personal fouls, totaling 142 yards in the game.
The Grizzlies (2-1, 0-1) will travel to Nebraska on September 24 to face another RMAC opponent in Chadron State (1-2, 1-0), with kickoff slated for noon. Chadron is coming off of their first win of the season against the Western State Mountaineers. Adams State will look to rebound following a 21-10 loss to the Eagles last season.