The WT Buffs advanced to the semifinals in the NCAA Division II Tournament with a convincing 34-13 win over Colorado State-Pueblo, continuing their historic run.
The game remained scoreless through much of the first quarter until junior quarterback Dustin Vaughan found junior wide receiver Nathan Slaughter on a 74-yard touchdown off a flea flicker trick play. After forcing a CSU-Pueblo three-and-out the Buffs got the ball again at the CSU-Pueblo 38-yard line. The Buffs went on a six-play, 38-yard drive that was capped off by Vaughan and Slaughter’s second touchdown hookup of the game. The Thunderwolves didn’t get on the scoreboard until they had an 18-play, 58-yard drive in which they settled for a field goal off the leg of freshman kicker Greg O’ Donnell, making the score 14-3. After a combination of Vaughan passing and senior Khiry Robinson rushing plays, Vaughan found Robinson on a one-yard touchdown pass, capping off the eight-play, 71-yard drive, and Vaughan’s third touchdown of the game. After senior defensive back Jordan Smith intercepted senior quarterback Ross Dausin, the Buffs padded their lead with a 51-yard field goal from junior kicker Sergio Castillo.
In the third quarter, Thunderwolves kicker O’Donnell had a field goal making the score 24-6. The Buffs answered the score with a 50-yard field goal from Castillo making the score 27-6. This set CSU-Pueblo up at their own 25-yard line. After gaining 11-yards on a couple of passes from Dausin to junior wide receiver Josh Sandoval, the Timberwolves were set up at first-and-ten at their own 36-yard line. On the snap Dausin was sacked by Buffs defensive lineman Josh Hunt, who would scoop the ball and return it for a touchdown making the score 34-6, and crushing the hopes of the more than 10,000 CSU-Pueblo fans that filled the Thunderbowl Stadium. CSU-Pueblo’s only touchdown of the game came at the start of the fourth quarter from Dausin to Sandoval, making the score 34-13, which was the final score. The Buffs seven sacks came from Hunt and senior defensive lineman Aaron Wampler who each had two, junior defensive linemen Deone Bondurant and Bryan Johnson with one each and sophomore Shane Sobnosky shared a sack.
Dustin Vaughan finished 24-38 for 324 yards and three touchdowns and a lone pick. Khiry Robinson finished with 120 yards including a 57-yard run to solidify the win. Nathan Slaughter led the receivers with seven catches for 170 yards and two touchdowns, with junior Torrence Allen also having seven catches for 63 yards.
The Buffs will go on the road for their fourth straight game to take on Winston-Salem State at Brown Grey Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 5:30 Central Standard Time.