Senior tailback Cody Paul provided a spark for the Eagles Saturday at Elliott Field, but the team came up just short as Humboldt State University left Chadron State College with a 31-27 win.
The California native took his second carry of the game to the house, breaking away for 75 yards and a touchdown to take a 7-3 lead in the first quarter. Later, his heroic 74-yard punt return touchdown retook the lead for the Eagles at 20-17. It was the first CSC punt return score since Trelan Taylor ran one back in 2012 versus Black Hills State.
The game swung back and forth that way on several turns in the game.
Several big plays by the Eagles were met with several long drives by HSU.
Including the punt return touchdown, there were five plays over 20 yards for Chadron State in the game. Matt Readerwas on the receiving end of two 27-yard passes in the same drive in the third quarter. His second catch was an acrobatic sideline catch that scored the Eagles’ second touchdown and got CSC back in the game at 17-14. Marcus Brown had a 10-yard reception that turned into 25 after a facemask penalty was assessed to an HSU defender. Brown also scored a go-ahead touchdown with 12:23 left in the game.
The Lumberjacks sustained four drives of 11 or more plays to take four or more minutes off the clock. The first three such drives ended in touchdowns and the last ended with the final whistle.
For the Eagles, the game came down to a nine-play, 74 yard drive in the fourth quarter, down 31-27. The drive ended on a fourth down stop at the HSU one-yard line with 7:55 remaining, as CSC was unable to capitalize on a goal line opportunity.
After a 12-yard possession by the Eagles, the last 4:10 on the clock was vanquished by the visitors who ran 11 plays and gained three first downs to seal the game.
Paul finished with 105 yards on only five carries, with the rushing touchdown and the return score. Derek Jacksonadded 61 yards on 13 carries, and Kevin Coy picked up the remainder of the total 199 yards on the ground by Chadron State.
Matt Vinson was 22-of-43 passing for 197 yards and two scores, with a single interception.
Defensively, three Eagles finished in double digits in tackles. They were led by Joey Hopkins with 12, followed byMerritt Crabtree with 11. Collin Eisenman had 10 tackles including a game-high 2.5 tackles for loss. John Templaralso saw significant action getting nine tackles and 1.5 for a loss.
Time of possession went to the Lumberjacks by over a two-to-one margin, by holding the ball for 41:53 out of 60 minutes.
The Eagles are home for two more weeks consecutively, as they host Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference newcomer Dixie State for a 1 p.m. Homecoming Weekend kickoff on Saturday, October 8.