PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) — Brian Lucas scored on a 1-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter, and Minnesota-Duluth rallied past previously unbeaten CSU-Pueblo 24-21 on Saturday in a second-round NCAA Division II playoff game.
The Bulldogs (11-2), the defending Division II champions, advanced to the quarterfinal round, where they will play Wayne State, a 38-26 winner over Nebraska-Kearney earlier Saturday. The loss snapped the top-ranked Thunderwolves’ (11-1) 15-game winning streak dating to last season.
Trailing by four early in the fourth, Minnesota-Duluth missed two chances to regain the lead before finally breaking through. Chase Vogler had a pass picked off in the end zone by Stephan Dickens, and a 57-yard punt return for a touchdown by Aaron Roth was negated by a clipping penalty.
But the Bulldogs stayed with it, putting together a drive that included a 31-yard run by Vogler. Lucas covered the final yards on three straight runs.
Vogler was shaken up on the tackle after his long run; he fumbled, but Minnesota-Duluth recovered. Vogler left the game but returned for the finish.
CSU-Pueblo tried to answer Lucas’ score, but its final possession ended in a fourth-down sack of Ross Dausin by linebacker Blake Rogers.
The Bulldogs took the lead on Zach Hulce’s 1-yard touchdown run with 6:36 remaining in the third quarter before the Thunderwolves went back in front. Dausin evaded pressure to scramble 18 yards for a touchdown as CSU-Pueblo went back in front 21-17 with 26 seconds left in the third.
With Minnesota-Duluth at its 21 and time winding down in the second quarter, a wind-blown shotgun snap sailed over the head of Vogler and the ball rolled all the way into the end zone. Vogler dove for the ball but couldn’t come up with it, and Corey Orth recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown that put the Thunderwolves in front 14-10 at halftime.
J.B. Mathews gave CSU-Pueblo an early 7-0 lead when he scored on a 14-yard run. A group of defenders closed down what began as a sweep around left end, but Mathews reversed his field, picked up a block from Dausin, turned the corner on the opposite side and went in for the score.
David Nadeau kicked a 46-yard field goal for Minnesota-Duluth after the Thunderwolves’ Brandon Kliesen, punting into a strong wind, managed only a 5-yard punt that was downed at the Bulldogs 34.
Joe Reichert caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Vogler after it was tipped by teammate Ben Helmer.
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