The Nebraska-Kearney football team got 250 all-purpose yards from freshman running back Rustin Dring and scored 21 first quarter points to beat Colorado State-Pueblo, 41-10, Saturday afternoon.
With the win at the ThunderBowl, UNK gets back to the .500 mark (3-3, 3-1 RMAC) while the Thunderwolves (2-3, 1-3 RMAC) lose a third straight game. This is CSU-Pueblo’s first year back on the grid iron since 1984; they reinstated football as an intercollegiate sport about one year ago.
A much more experienced UNK football team wasted no time against the young Thunderwolves as they got an interception from junior safety Jake Mandelko (Lexington) on the second play from scrimmage. The Lopers then went 23 yards in eight plays, finishing the drive with a one yard scoring run from redshirt freshman quarterback Jake Spitzlberger (Lakewood, Colo.).
The drive also featured a four yard run from Dring on 4th and one from the CSUP 14-yard line.
The next time the Lopers got the ball, Spitzlberger directed a 10 play, 60-yard drive that ended with a 12-yard scoring pass to sophomore Brandon Dondlinger (Waverly). Spitzlberger was the workhorse of this possession as he completed 5 of 6 passes for 53 yards.
The UNK defense then go into the scoring column three plays later when senior end Nate Reicks (McCook) sacked Pueblo quarterback Joe Vigil for a 16-yard loss and also jarred lose the football. Sophomore defensive tackle Josh Rohde (Eddyville) jumped on the unclaimed pigskin for a 21-0 UNK lead.
This is UNK’s fifth defensive touchdown over the last six years; all five have TD’s have come on the road.
Early in the second quarter, a 39-yard punt from Pueblo pinned the Lopers at their own seven yard line. After Pueblo tackled Dring for a five yard loss on first down, the Kearney High graduate galloped 98 yards down the sidelines for a score and the longest run in school history.
In a 1958 win over Dana College, former head coach Claire Boroff had a 97-yard scoring run.
Pueblo did get on the scoreboard when Kyle Major hit a 27-yard field goal with 5:10 left in the second quarter. The two teams would then each fail to score in the third quarter; UNK has tallied just six third quarter points all season.
Senior Geoff Carnahan (Kearney Catholic) broke the scoring drought when he made a 46-yard field goal early in the fourth. The 11 play, 56-yard drive was led by backup quarterback Bobby Adamson (Byers, Colo.).