PUEBLO, Colo. (October 27, 2017) - The No. 24 Colorado State University-Pueblo football team hosts Western State Colorado University Saturday, Oct. 28 in the final regular season home game. The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference is set for a 2 p.m. kickoff at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl. The contest serves as Military Appreciation and Senior Day.
To honor the people that serve and protect our country, all current and active members of the military (w/ Military ID) can pick up a free ticket for themselves and up to four additional tickets for their immediate family.
• The ThunderWolves are back in the AFCA top 25 poll after a one week hiatus. CSU-Pueblo came in at No. 24.
• The Pack leads the series with the Mountaineers 15-9 and are on a nine game winning streak (all the games since the restart in 2008).
• In the last nine games, CSU-Pueblo is outscoring Western State 251-106 (27.9-11.8).
• The ThunderWolves are 8-4 at home against the Mountaineers, which includes a 4-0 record at the ThunderBowl.
• In last year's meeting in Gunnison, the Pack were victorious 10-7, while in the last meeting at home in 2015, CSU-Pueblo won 20-10.
• This season, CSU-Pueblo has scored more points in the second quarter (125) than Western State has all season long (102).
SCOUTING THE PACK
• The Pack (6-2, 6-1 RMAC) recorded a 49-0 bounceback victory against Black Hills State last week.
• The ThunderWolves totaled five takeaways, which included four interceptions, two of which went for touchdowns. On the flip side, the CSU-Pueblo offense took care of the ball and its opportunities, as the Pack didn't turn the ball over (BHSU led nation in takeaways) and totaled five touchdowns.
• CB Darius Williams totaled two interceptions to push his season total to six (T-3rd in Division II), while he recorded his third pick six of the season (T-1st in DII). His partner in crime CB Emery Taylor also had two interceptions and returned one to the house for his third career defensive score.
• The Pack own 14 interceptions this season to rank eighth nationally, while the team's 19 takeaways ranks 17th in DII. With a 1.25 turnover margin, CSU-Pueblo is 10th nationally.
• RB Marché Dennard totaled 92 yards with three rushing touchdowns of 11, 21 and 15 yards. He moved his season total to 12 rushing touchdowns, which ranks ninth nationally. He is averaging 8.1 yards per carry to sit third in NCAA Division II.
• The Pack are ranked 18th nationally in scoring defense (16.8 ppg) and 21st in scoring offense (39.4 ppg).
• ILB Brandon Payer is 2nd in the RMAC in total tackles with 81, which ranks 41st nationally. His 52 solo efforts leads the league and ranks 9th in Division II.
• 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.
• The Pack have two touchdowns on special teams (blocked punt and punt return), while P Tanner Cuda is 29th nationally in punting (40.8 ypp).
• R-Fr. K Mitchell Carter is a perfect 42-for-42 on EXPT and 7-of-8 on FGs in 2017. He ranks 8th nationally in field goal percentage (87.5%).
SCOUTING WESTERN STATE
• The Mountaineers are 1-7 overall and in RMAC play, but are coming off that one win, a 26-16 home victory against New Mexico Highlands.
• Western is allowing 34.9 points per game and scoring 12.8 points per contest. WSCU ranks fifth in the RMAC in total defense (377.9 ypg).
• WSCU is disciplined and ranks third in the league in fewest penalties with 50 (6.3 penalties per game).
• The Mountaineers are fifth in the league in punt returns with 9.1 yards per return, guided by Rodray Perkins, who is second in the RMAC.
• 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, but returned this week to rank No. 24. CSU-Pueblo is No. 22 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 (50-0) and when allowing 10 points or less (37-0).
• Since reinstating the program in 2008, the ThunderWolves are 50-11 (.820) at the ThunderBowl.
• CSU-Pueblo is winning the first half 195-84, specifically scoring 125 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 10 75-yard or more scoring drives. 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.
• CSU-Pueblo has recorded four drives under 20 seconds this season. Two came at New Mexico Highlands (Sept. 23) on a one-play 30 yard run by Austin Micci that took seven seconds and a 19 second, one-play run 69 yard run by Marché Dennard. The other two came against Black Hills State (Oct. 21). The first was a two-play 21 yard drive that ran 11 seconds off the clock, then a two-play, 15-yard drive that ticked eight seconds off.
• The ThunderWolves have a 70-8 record since 2008 when scoring first (5-1 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 721 rushing yards on 89 attempts for a 8.1 yards per carry average that ranks 3rd in NCAA Division II. He owns 12 rushing touchdowns to ranks 9th nationally, while he ranks 14th in total touchdowns and 21st in scoring.
• RB Austin Micci has seven rushing touchdowns and has found the end zone eight times this season (one receiving). The sophomore back owns 519 rushing yards this season on a team-high 100 carries. He averages 64.9 yards per game.
• The Pack are 40th nationally (4th in RMAC) in rushing offense with 200.4 yards per game. The 405 rushing yards against New Mexico Highlands was the third most in program history. The Pack rushed for 435 yards on 50 attempts against Western New Mexico, Oct. 31, 2009 and 481 against Westminster in 1977.
• 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 60.2 completion percentage. The combined five interceptions thrown through eight games ranks 1st 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'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 (5.13). They rank 26th in sacks allowed (1.13 per game).
• The Pack rank 8th in NCAA Division II in red zone offense, as they are 31-for-33 (93.9%)this season. They have 25 touchdowns and six field goals. The two misses were when the Pack went into victory formation.
• CSU-Pueblo sits 19th nationally (1st RMAC) in 3rd down conversion percentage (47.0%).
• The Pack are 5th in the RMAC, but 37th nationally in total offense with 432.8 yards per game. The ThunderWolves are scoring 39.4 points per game to sit 2nd in the RMAC and 21st 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 18th nationally (1st in RMAC) in scoring defense this season at 16.8 points per game.
• The Pack have 14 interceptions in 2017 to rank 1st in the RMAC and 8th nationally. With five fumble recoveries added to the INT total, CSU-Pueblo ranks 2nd in the RMAC and 17th in Division II in turnovers gained (19).
• The ThunderWolves totalled four pix sixes in 2016. CSU-Pueblo has matched it this season with four returned for scores (T-5th nationally in defensive TDs). CB Darius Williams has three this season to tie for the most in NCAA Division II this season (25 yards at NMHU - Sept. 23, 99 yards versus ASU - Oct. 7, and 35 yards against BHSU - Oct. 21). CB Emery Taylor also had a pick six against Black Hills State, as his went for 46 yards.
• 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.
• RECORD WATCH: Williams is one interception shy of tying the program record (7), set by Dickie Johnson (1978), Steve Chavez (1967), Stephan Dickens (2014), C.J. Roberts (2014). His 176 return yards is 11 yards shy of the program record (187), set by C.J. Roberts in 2012 on five interceptions.
• Since 2008, the Pack have totaled 32 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 120.5 yards per game.
• The Pack lead the RMAC in total defense, allowing 316.0 yards per game.
• Junior inside linebacker Brandon Payer has 81 tackles with 53 solo. He is 2nd in the RMAC in tackles and leads in solo tackles (9th nationally). He adds 4.5 sacks and nine tackles for loss (-41 yards).
• Williams ranks eighth in the RMAC in passes defended with 12 (six interceptions, six break-ups).
• Sophomore CB Emery Taylor has 10 passes defended (three interceptions), which is ninth in the league. His seven break-ups are a team best.
• The Pack's red zone defense is the best in the RMAC and ranks 16th 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 two blocked punts (vs Colorado Mines, Aug. 31, vs Adams State, Oct. 7) 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-2nd in the RMAC and T-16th 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 2015.
• CSU-Pueblo has not allowed their opponent to block any kick attempts to rank tied for 1st nationally with 30 other teams.
• Sophomore WR Brandon O'Donnell recorded the second 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 29th nationally in kick returns (23.5 ypr) and 28th (2nd in RMAC) in punt returns (13.5 ypr).
• New kicker, R-Fr. Mitchell Carter is a perfect 42-for-42 on extra points and 7-of-8 on field goals this season. He ranks 8th in NCAA Division II in the category of field goal percentage (min. 1 FGA per game). His 63 points is second on the team and is sixth in the RMAC.
• Junior punter Tanner Cuda is averaging 40.8 yards per kick to rank 29th nationally (2nd in the RMAC). He has placed 18 of his 33 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.