CHADRON – The theme for Chadron State College’s 2012 homecoming was “Zombie Apocalypse,” which was fitting because it took until the fourth quarter for the Eagles’ offense to come alive.
Tailback Michael Madkins scored two touchdowns on the ground, Nathan Ross added a 32-yard touchdown reception and the Eagles’ defense stopped the high-flying Western New Mexico offense three times, including once on a goal line stand, in the fourth quarter to earn a gritty 41-23 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference victory Saturday.
Glen Clinton rushed for a career-high 245 yards, including scampers of 63, 48 and 27 yards, and quarterbackJonn McLain completed 20 of 29 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns as the Eagles, ranked 24th in the current D2football.com Top 25 poll and third in Super Region Four, shook off a shaky start to improve to 7-2 overall and 6-1 in the conference.
Western New Mexico, which has lost to Chadron State seven straight years since joining the RMAC, falls to 4-5 and 3-4 in the league.
Neither team led by more than a touchdown until the fourth quarter and it appeared as if Western New Mexico could spoil the Eagles’ homecoming. However, the tide started to turn in Chadron State’s favor after Western New Mexico kicker Josh McIntire’s third field goal of the day – a 27 yarder – that put the Mustangs up, 23-20.
On the Eagles’ ensuing drive, they marched 86 yards in 11 plays and converted three third downs when McLain found three different receivers. Following a 27-yard pass to Clinton and a 14-yard rush from Chapman Ham, Madkins, who ran for 59 yards in the game, put the Eagles up 27-23 with an 11-yard burst up the middle.
The Mustangs came right back, though, and drove into CSC territory, eventually having a first and goal from the Eagles’ 9-yard line. The CSC defense stood tall and on fourth and goal from the three, Tau Ho Ching and Kevin Lindholm, who had a game-high 17 tackles, stood up John De La Rosa at the one.
Chadron State then needed just three plays to find the end zone again. Clinton gave the Eagles’ offense some breathing room with a 4-yard run up the middle and then he followed with a season-high 63-yard gain. On the next play, McLain found Ross open along the sideline for a 32-yard TD and the Eagles were in firm control, leading 34-23 with just eight minutes to play.
On the Mustangs’ next drive, quarterback Mitch Glasmann, who completed 22 of 41 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown, was intercepted by Trelan Taylor. The Eagles capitalized five plays later when Madkins raced 38 yards and somersaulted into the end zone to put CSC up, 41-23 with three minutes remaining.
Despite the fourth quarter dominance – CSC outgained Western New Mexico, 225 to 101 yards – a majority of the game was nip and tuck. Western New Mexico led three different times and were looking to add more late in the first quarter until linebacker Dylan Furrier forced a fumble that Lindholm, who also had 5.5 tackles for loss, recovered.
Two plays later, McLain found a wide-open Ham for a 58-yard TD that put CSC up 20-17 at halftime.
Western New Mexico scored the only six points in the third quarter and led 23-20 heading into the fourth.
The Eagles rushed for 313 yards in the game and finished with 539 yards of total offense. It was the third time in nine games Chadron State has eclipsed the 500-yard mark.
Chadron State will play at Fort Lewis Saturday. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
WNM 3 14 6 0 – 23
CSC 7 13 0 21 – 41
WNM – Josh McIntire 22 field goal
CSC – Kyle Vinich 7 pass from Jonn McLain (Alex Ferdinand kick)
WNM – John De La Rosa 6 run (Josh McIntire kick)
CSC – Alex Ferdinand 35 field goal
WNM – Marquis Sumpter 37 pass from Mitch Glasmann
CSC – Alex Ferdinand 40 field goal
CSC – Chapman Ham 58 pass from Jonn McLain (Ferdinand kick)
WNM – Josh McIntire 23 field goal
WNM – Josh McIntire 27 field goal
CSC – Michael Madkins 11 run (Ferdinand kick)
CSC – Nathan Ross 32 pass from Jonn McLain (Ferdinand kick)
CSC – Michael Madkins 38 run (Ferdinand kick)