PUEBLO, Colo. (October 19, 2017) - The Colorado State University-Pueblo football team hosts Black Hills State University Saturday, Oct. 21 in a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference clash at 2 p.m. at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl. The contests serves and Family Day and the Think Pink Game.
• The ThunderWolves dropped out of the AFCA top 25 poll after last week's loss and are tied at the top of the RMAC standings with one league loss.
• The Pack lead the series with Black Hills State 5-0 with a 2-0 record in games played at the ThunderBowl.
• Last season the ThunderWolves posted a 49-14 road victory, as QB Rex Dausin passed for a school record six touchdowns.
• The Pack own a 236-61 (47.2-12.2) scoring advantage in the five games and haven't scored less than 42 points in a contest.
SCOUTING THE PACK
• The Pack (5-2, 5-1 RMAC) fell to Fort Lewis 35-24 in Durango last week. CSU-Pueblo trailed 21-0 in the second and 28-7 at the half. The Pack won the second half 17-7, but it wasn't enough to avoid the upset. ILB Brandon Payer totaled 13 tackles (10 solo) and ranks 5th nationally in solo tackles.
• CSU-Pueblo leads the RMAC in scoring offense (38.0 ppg), scoring defense (19.1 ppg) and total defense (344.1 ypg allowed).
• The ThunderWolves rank 5th nationally in red zone offense (96.4%). The team is 27-of-28 this season with 21 touchdowns.
• The defense ranks 22nd nationally in the red zone, as they allow the opponent to score only 66.7 percent of the time.
• RB Marché Dennard sits 3rd nationally in rush yards per carry (8.24 ypc)
• CSU-Pueblo owns 10 interceptions this season to rank 17th nationally. CB Darius Williams has four interceptions and has returned two for TDs.
• The Pack have two touchdowns on special teams (blocked punt and punt return), while P Tanner Cuda is 24th nationally in punting (41.0 ypp).
• R-Fr. K Mitchell Carter is a perfect 35-for-35 on EXPT and 7-of-7 on FGs in 2017.
• The Pack are scoring 38.0 points per game to rank 24th nationally, while the defense is allowing 19.1 points per contest to sit 19th in DII. Both are RMAC bests.
SCOUTING BLACK HILLS STATE
• The Yellow Jackets are 4-3 overall and in RMAC play to sit fourth in the league standings. BHSU is coming off a 40-0 home victory against Western.
• Black Hills State leads NCAA Division II in turnovers gained with 23 (13 interceptions and 10 fumbles recovered), but have lost 16 turnovers in '17.
• The Yellow Jackets are 4th in the RMAC in passing offense with 256.4 yards per game and are 7th in the league in scoring offense with 32.6 ppg.
• On special teams they are 10th nationally in kickoff returns (25.52 ypr) and 7th in punt return defense (1.57 ypr allowed).
• RB Phydell Paris ranks top 15 nationally in rushing TDs (11th, 10), rushing yards (13th, 793) and rushing yards per game (15th, 113.3).
• DL Thayer Sauter leads the RMAC and ranks 8th nationally in tackles with 76.
• WR Erick Hairston-Belcher leads the RMAC and ranks 3rd nationally in kickoff returns, as he averages 35.1 yards per return.
• CSU-Pueblo entered the 2017 ranked No. 12 in both the AFCA and D2Football.com polls. After the loss to FLC, the Pack fell out of the AFCA poll and ranks No. 23 in the D2Football.com poll.
• The Pack ranked in the AFCA top 25 for 66 consecutive polls ranging from Sept. 5, 2011 (21st) to Sept. 5, 2016 (19th).
• The ThunderWolves ranked in the top 10 nationally for a NCAA Division II-best 37 straight weeks from Oct. 17, 2011 (eighth) to Oct. 6, 2014 (second).
• This season, the ThunderWolves will play six road games in six different states (Texas, South Dakota, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Nebraska).
• The Pack will travel roughly 4,940 miles in those six road games.
• Since 2008, CSU-Pueblo is undefeated when scoring 35 or more points (49-0) and when allowing 10 points or less (36-0).
• Since reinstating the program in 2008, the ThunderWolves are 49-11 (.811) at the ThunderBowl.
• CSU-Pueblo is winning the first half 160-84, specifically scoring 97 points in the second quarter.
• The defense has given up just 50 points in the second half (23 in the fourth quarter).
• The Pack have totaled nine 75-yard or more scoring drives this season. The longest drive was a 15-play, 96-yard drive to the end zone at South Dakota Mines. It ate up 7:18 of the clock, which is the most time a scoring drive has taken this season.
• The ThunderWolves have a 69-8 record since 2008 when scoring first (4-1 this season).
• The Pack scored in all three areas of the game against Adams State for the first time since Sept. 12, 2015 at West Texas A&M. The Pack totaled six offensive scores, posted a 99-yard pick six by Darius Williams and got two on special teams, a 35-yard punt block for a score and a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown.
• CSU-Pueblo owns a 17-6 (12-4 at home) record versus ranked opponents (Division II) since 2011. That includes a 6-1 record against the nation's top 10. The Pack had won 10 straight against nationally-ranked opponents (6-0 in 2014 and 4-1 in 2015) before the playoff loss to Grand Valley State. Ranking history since 2011 page 4
CSU-PUEBLO POSITION NOTABLES
• Junior RB Marché Dennard leads the team with 629 rushing yards on 76 attempts for a 8.3 yards per carry average that ranks 3rd in NCAA Division II. He owns nine rushing touchdowns and averages 89.9 yards per game. His rushing scores total ranks 17th nationally, while the nine total touchdowns are 24th the in DII.
• RB Austin Micci has seven rushing touchdowns and has found the end zone eight times this season (one receiving). The sophomore back owns 480 rushing yards this season on a team-high 88 carries. He averages 66.7 yards per game.
• The Pack are 31st nationally (4th in RMAC) in rushing offense with 204.3 yards per game. The 405 rushing yards against New Mexico Highlands was the second most in program history. The Pack rushed for 435 yards on 50 attempts against Western New Mexico, Oct. 31, 2009.
• In his first NCAA Division II start, junior QB Brandon Edwards went 13-for-19 (68.4%) for 152 yards and two touchdowns. His recorded a 72.4 completion percentage before suffering an injury in week three.
• As a team, the ThunderWolves rank second in the RMAC with a 59.4 completion percentage. The combined five interceptions thrown through seven games ranks second in the league in least interceptions.
• Senior QB Rex Dausin threw for 318 yards in the win against No. 8 Colorado Mesa. It was the first 300 yard game by a Pack QB since Chris Bonner Oct. 18, 2014.
• Dausin owns 12.9 passing yards per completion sits fourth in the league.
• Dausin's 83-yard touchdown strike to Washington at NMHU (Sept. 23) was the longest since an 82-yard connection between Chris Bonner and Paul Browning on Nov. 11, 2014.
• The ThunderWolves have five seniors on the offensive line this season and rank 34th nationally and second in the RMAC in the least tackles for loss allowed (4.86). They rank 22nd in sacks allowed (1.00 per game).
• The Pack rank 5th in NCAA Division II in red zone offense, as they are 27-for-28 this season. They have 21 touchdowns and six field goals. The one miss was at the end of the win against No. 8 Colorado Mesa when the Pack went into victory formation at the 1-yard line.
• CSU-Pueblo sits 28th nationally and second the RMAC in 3rd down conversion percentage (44.7%).
• The Pack are 5th in the RMAC, but 34th nationally in total offense with 439.1 yards per game. The ThunderWolves are scoring 38.0 points per game to sit 1st in the RMAC and 24th in NCAA Division II.
• The Pack have been one of the most stingiest and unforgiving defenses in the nation the past seven seasons. Since 2011, the ThunderWolves have finished the season in the top 22 nationally in scoring defense, which includes leading the country in 2011 and 2014. CSU-Pueblo has also ranked in the top 21 in turnover ratio (or turnovers gained) in all but one season in that span with the nation's best mark in 2014.
• CSU-Pueblo ranks 29th nationally (1st in RMAC) in scoring defense this season at 19.1 points per game.
• The Pack have 10 interceptions in 2017 to rank second in the RMAC and 17th nationally. With four fumble recoveries added to the INT total, CSU-Pueblo ranks second in the RMAC in turnovers gained (14).
• The ThunderWolves totalled four pix sixes in 2016. CSU-Pueblo earned its first interception for a score of 2017 against NMHU (Sept. 23) when junior CB Darius Williams took a pick 25 yards to the paint. Williams struck again against Adams State (Oct. 7) when he returned an interception 99 yards to the end zone.
• Williams has at least one pick six in each of his three seasons with the Pack and four in his career. His four interceptions is a RMAC best and ranks T-9th in NCAA Division II.
• Since 2008, the Pack have totaled 30 interception returns for a touchdown. The most in a season is five by the 2010 and 2014 squads. The Pack finished 10th in NCAA Division II in defensive TD's with five last season.
• CSU-Pueblo's rushing defense was established on game one of the program re-boot in 2008. The Pack allowed 13 yards rushing against Oklahoma Panhandle State (Sept. 8, 2008) and since have held their opponent to less than 50 yards rushing on 20 more occasions. Last season, the ThunderWolves held Adams State (Oct. 8) to just 15 yards this season and Black Hills State (Oct. 22) to only 35 yards.
• Six times since 2008 the ThunderWolves have allowed 10 or less rushing yards, with the record standing at -4 rushing yards at New Mexico Highlands Nov. 9, 2013.
• CSU-Pueblo is second in the league in rushing defense, allowing 132.3 yards per game.
• The Pack lead the RMAC in total defense, allowing 344.1 yards per game.
• Junior inside linebacker Brandon Payer has 75 tackles with 51 solo. He is 2nd in the RMAC in tackles (15th nationally) and leads in solo tackles (5th nationally). His 4.5 sacks is third in the league, while the nine tackles for loss (-41 yards) is second.
• Sophomores CB Emery Taylor and S Jammal Sears each have seven passes defended (one interception), which is T-13th in the league. The six break-ups are a team best. Williams has eight passes defended (four interceptions, four break-ups) to rank T-11th in the RMAC.
• The Pack's red zone defense is the best in the RMAC and ranks 22nd nationally. They are allowing their opponent to score on 66.7 percent of their attempts (14-of-21). Of their 14 scores, 11 have gone for touchdowns.
• The Pack have three blocked punts (vs Colorado Mines, Aug. 31, vs Adams State, Oct. 7, at Fort Lewis, Oct. 14) and a blocked extra point (at New Mexico Highlands, Sept. 23) this season to rank T-15th nationally in blocked kicks. CSU-Pueblo is T-1st in the RMAC and T-5th nationally in blocked punts.
• Sophomore ILB Kyle Rosenbrock blocked and returned a punt 35 yards to the end zone in the win against Adams State. It was the first blocked punt for a score for the Pack since 2011.
• CSU-Pueblo has not allowed their opponent to block any kick attempts.
• Sophomore WR Brandon O'Donnell recorded the longest punt return for a touchdown in the RMAC this season when he returned a kick 63 yards to the end zone against Adams State (Oct. 7.). It was the first punt return for a score for the Pack since Dec. 6, 2014 against Ohio Dominican.
• CSU-Pueblo is 25th nationally in kick returns (23.5 ypr) and 29th in punt returns (13.4 ypr). Both are 3rd in the RMAC.
• New kicker, R-Fr. Mitchell Carter is a perfect 35-for-35 on extra points and 7-of-7 on field goals this season. He ranks first in NCAA Division II in the category of field goal percentage (min. 1 FGA per game) and is tied for 33rd nationally in field goals per game. His 56 points leads the team and is fourth in the RMAC.
• Junior punter Tanner Cuda is averaging 41.0 yards per kick to rank 24th nationally (3rd in the RMAC). He has placed 13 of his 28 attempts inside the 20 and has five over 50 yards, which includes a 77 yard punt against Colorado Mesa (Sept. 30) - the longest in the RMAC this season.
#PACKPROS: CSU-Pueblo has three former players in the NFL right now. Ryan Jensen (2009-12) is in his fifth season with the Baltimore Ravens and Mike Pennel (2013) is in his fourth overall season and first with the New York Jets. Morgan Fox (2012-15) moved from the practice squad to active roster last season and enters year two with the Los Angeles Rams. Jensen is starting at center for the Ravens, while Fox and Pennel are regulars on the defensive line. Paul Browning (2010-14) finished his second season in the Arena Football League (AFL) in July with the Baltimore Brigade. Former quarterback Chris Bonner (2013-14) finished his first season in the AFL with the Tampa Bay Storm.
VS. RANKED SQUADS: CSU-Pueblo owns a 16-6 (11-4 at home) record versus ranked opponents (Division II) since 2011. The ThunderWolves went 6-0 versus the nation's top 25 in 2014 and also added a 47-21 win against Sam Houston State (No. 15) to record the team's first-ever victory against a ranked FCS team. The Pack went 4-1 against ranked opponents in 2015 and had won 10 straight against the nation's best before the loss to Grand Valley State.
STREAKS: CSU-Pueblo posted three straight 11-0 seasons entering 2014 and was just one of two teams in NCAA Division II history to accomplish the feat. After starting 5-0 in 2014, the Pack owned 42 straight regular season victories, which was the second-longest in NCAA Division II history, behind only Grand Valley State, which posted 48 straight wins from 2004-09. The streak ended Oct. 11 in a 23-22 road loss at Fort Lewis.
The Pack recorded 28 consecutive regular season home victories from a 66-0 win against New Mexico Highlands Oct. 30, 2010 to a 51-20 win against Colorado Mesa Nov. 7, 2015.
As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics.