CHADRON, Neb. — A dominating first half fueled another big road win for the Colorado State University-Pueblo football team Saturday night.
The No. 9-ranked Pack won its second consecutive road game to open the 2019 season, defeating Chadron State 42-21 in a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference contest. The win moved the ThunderWolves to 2-0 overall and in the RMAC. Chadron State fell to 1-1 overall and in the conference.
It marked the 11th consecutive time CSU-Pueblo has beaten Chadron State since the restart in 2008.
"We took advantage of the kicking game and had some short fields to work with and our defense dominated," CSU-Pueblo head coach John Wristen said. "And in the second half, we responded each time they scored. Now we get to come home."
Wristen was referring to CSU-Pueblo's 2019 home opener next Saturday when it hosts Colorado School of Mines (2-0, 2-0) at the Neta & Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl. The Orediggers handed the ThunderWolves their lone conference loss last season in Golden. But the Pack gained revenge with a big win in the opening round of the NCAA Division II playoffs, also in Golden.
Saturday, CSU-Pueblo dominated the first half, shutting down an Eagles offense that rolled up more than 500 yards in its 48-31 opening-game win over Black Hill State last week.
The ThunderWolves rolled up 253 yards of offense in the opening half while holding the Eagles to 141.
CSU-Pueblo scored on its first possession of the game.
Pack quarterback Jordan Kitna, son of former NFL QB Jon Kitna, set up the first touchdown with his legs, scrambling 26 yards to the Eagles' 5, setting up Austin Micci's 4-yard burst around right end. But Mitchell Carter missed the PAT, leaving the Pack with a 6-0 lead with 10:06 in the first quarter.
The second quarter was all CSU-Pueblo as it exploded for 23 points. That makes 40 points in two games in the second quarter.
Following a 12-yard punt, Micci found the end zone again from 19 yards out, picking up a key downfield block from Nick Williams.
Carter, who missed two extra points and a field goal in the first half, made it 16-0 with a 32-yard field goal midway through the second quarter.
Marcus Lindsay added a 5-yard TD that completed a six-play, 62-yard drive.
The Pack added another score late in the first half, marching 64 yards on eight plays with Max Fine catching his first career touchdown, a 5-yarder from Kitna. Carter's PAT made it 29-0.
Chadron State received a bit of life to start the second half when Penick fumbled on the kickoff return. Seven plays later, the Eagles broke the shutout when Tevon Wright hauled in a 9-yard TD from Dalton Holst.
Fine and Kitna connected again on a 42-yarder on the ensuing possession, setting up a D.J. Penick score from 10 yards out to make it 36-7.
The Eagles scored their second touchdown of the quarter when Holst found Jackson Dickerson on a 54-yard score.
But the ThunderWolves responded again, driving 78 yards on 10 plays with Penick scoring from the 2 for his second score to make it 42-14.
Priest Jennings broke loose on a 56-yard run in the waning seconds for a cosmetic score for Chadron State.
NOTES: Pack wide receiver Dionte Sykes, who had four catches for 172 yards in the opener against Dixie State, left the game in the second quarter with a shoulder injury and didn't return. He had three receptions for 53 yards before leaving on Saturday. Chadron State actually had more first downs (22-19) than CSU-Pueblo and also finished with more total yards (449-421).
Chieftain interim sports editor Jeff Letofsky can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @JeffLetofsky
CSU-Pueblo 42, Chadron State 21
CSUP—Austin Micci 4 run (kick failed), 10:06
CSUP—Micci 19 run (Mitchell Carter kick), 12:07
CSUP—Carter 32 field goal, 8:54
CSUP—Marcus Lindsay 5 run (kick failed), 4:49
CSUP—Max Fine 5 pass from Jordan Kitna (Carter kick), 1:26
CS—Tevon Wright 9 pass from Dalton Holst (Colton Dolder kick), 13:16
CSUP—D.J. Penick 10 run (Carter kick), 10:20
CS—Jackson Dickerson 54 pass from Holst (Dolder kick), 5:03
CSUP—Penick 2 run (kick failed), :31
CS—Priest Jennings 56 run (Dolder kick), :17
RUSHING—CSU-Pueblo: Micci 9-98, Penick 16-90, Kitna 5-58, Diggs 2-1, Lindsay 4-18, Bingham 9-12, Sykes 1-0; Chadron State: Jennings 9-79, Myles 17-58, Holst 6-24, Hyland 1-6, Brown 1-2.
PASSING—CSU-Pueblo: Kitna 11-17-0, 126 yards; Zach Cozzolino 0-1-0. Chadron State: Holst 21-44-1, 293 yards; Hyland 1-2-0, 7 yards.
RECEIVING—CSU-Pueblo: Sykes 3-53, Fine 3-53, Guerra 3-9, Diggs 1-7, Lindsay 1-4. Chadron State: Thurness 7-102, Dickerson 4-76, Fullerton 4-59, Wright 6-57, Vargas 1-6.