No. 24 ThunderWolves head to Utah for RMAC battle with Dixie State Saturday

No. 24 ThunderWolves head to Utah for RMAC battle with Dixie State Saturday

PUEBLO, Colo. (November 3, 2017) - The No. 24 Colorado State University-Pueblo football team hits the road for Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference showdown at Dixie State University Saturday, Nov. 4. The program's first trip to St. George, Utah will begin at 1 p.m.

LIVE STATS
LIVE VIDEO
LIVE AUDIO (1350AM and iHeart App)

CSU-PUEBLO GAME NOTES (7-2, 7-1 RMAC)
DIXIE STATE GAME NOTES (4-5, 4-4 RMAC)

THE GAME 

• The ThunderWolves remained the No. 24 team in the AFCA top 25 poll.  

• The Pack and Dixie State has met just once in program history. The 2016 meeting at the ThunderBowl ended with CSU-Pueblo winning 24-13.

• After allowing the Trailblazers to score first with a field goal, the Pack led at halftime 21-6 behind scores from TE Zach Boyd, RB Austin Micci and a fumble recovery touchdown by S Emery Taylor

• DSU out-gained CSU-Pueblo 313-268 in the contest, but the TuhunderWolves defense used two turnovers to help guide the team to the win. 

SCOUTING THE PACK 

• The ThunderWolves enter the next two away games of the season with a 2-2 road record. The Pack rank 13th nationally in scoring defense, but are allowing 21.5 points per game to their opponents on the road. 

• The Pack (7-2, 7-1 RMAC) capped off the regular season home schedule with a 40-7 win against Western State. 

• Turnovers were again the story for the Pack defense, as they gathered three interceptions and recovered a fumble. CSU-Pueblo ranks 2nd in NCAA Division II with 17 interceptions this season and with 22 turnovers gained, rank 14th nationally. 

• CB Darius Williams grabbed his seventh interception of the season to tie the program record and currently sit T-1st nationally. His partner in crime CB Emery Taylor had two interceptions and returned one to the end zone for the second straight week. He owns five picks in 2017 to rank tied for the third most. 

• The offense is doing their part holding on to the ball this season and with a 1.11 turnover margin, CSU-Pueblo is 12th nationally. 

• The defense held Western to just 84 yards, which included only 14 passing. 

• RB Marché Dennard rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown in the win. His 13 rushing TD's this season ranks 12th nationally, while the junior's 8.3 yards per carry is 3rd in Division II.

• The Pack are 17th nationally in scoring offense with 39.4 points per game.

• ILB Brandon Payer is 3rd in the RMAC in total tackles with 88, which ranks 25th nationally. His 58 solo efforts is 2nd in the league and ranks 9th in Division II.

• The ThunderWolves rank 15th nationally in red zone offense (92.3%). The team is 36-of-39 this season with 28 touchdowns.

• The defense ranks 7th nationally in the red zone, as they allow the opponent to score only 63.6 percent of the time.

• The Pack have two touchdowns on special teams (blocked punt and punt return).

• R-Fr. K Mitchell Carter is 46-for-47 on EXPT and 9-of-10 on FGs in 2017. He ranks 3rd nationally in field goal percentage (90%).   

SCOUTING DIXIE STATE

• The Trailblazers are 4-5 overall with a 4-4 RMAC record in their second season in the league.

• Dixie State is coming off a 54-28 home victory against Adams State. DSU led 27-14 at half and capped the win with a 20 point fourth quarter. The home team racked up 378 yards on the ground and 242 through the air for 620 total yards of offense.  

• This season the Trailblazers rank eighth in the conference in scoring offense with 25.8 points per game, while their defense is sixth after allowing 27.8 points per game.

• The defense leads the RMAC in passing yards allowed (145.0 ypg) and ranks 6th nationally. 

• The offense gathers 379.3 yards per game for 8th in the league with 227 yards per game passing. 

• QB Malik Watson has passed for 1,597 yards and 14 touchdowns with a 59.1 completion percentage that ranks 2nd in the RMAC. 

• DB Mike Jones is the team's tackles leader with 70 (41 solo). He also owns four forced fumbles and five pass break-ups.

THE POLLS 

• CSU-Pueblo entered the 2017 ranked No. 12 in both the AFCA and D2Football.com polls. The Pack remained No. 24 in the AFCA this week and is No. 21 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).

TEAM NOTES

• 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 (51-0) and when allowing 10 points or less (38-0).

• Since 2008, the ThunderWolves are 51-11 (.823) at the ThunderBowl.

• CSU-Pueblo is winning the first half 215-84, specifically scoring 139 points in the second quarter. 

• The defense has given up just 57 points in the second half (23 in the fourth quarter).

• The Pack have totaled 11 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 71-8 record since 2008 when scoring first (6-1 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

OFFENSE

• Junior RB Marché Dennard leads the team with 836 rushing yards on 101 attempts for a 8.3 yards per carry average that ranks 3rd in NCAA Division II. He owns 13 rushing touchdowns to ranks 12th nationally, while he ranks 16th in total touchdowns and 29th 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 564 rushing yards this season on a team-high 111 carries. He averages 62.7 yards per game.

• The Pack are 4th in the RMAC in rushing offense with 197.2 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 1st in the RMAC with a 60.8 completion percentage. The combined six interceptions thrown through nine games ranks 2nd 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. He is 4th in the RMAC in completion percentage (57.5%).

• Senior WR Osha Washington leads the team in receiving with 38 receptions for 459 yards. Seven different receivers have touchdowns this season with junior WR Josh Smith leading the way with six and one in each of the last five games.

• 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 fourth in the RMAC in the least tackles for loss allowed (5.44). They rank 33rd nationally in sacks allowed (1.33 per game).

• The Pack rank 15th in NCAA Division II in red zone offense, as they are 36-for-39 (92.3%)this season. They have 28 touchdowns and six field goals. Two misses were when the Pack went into victory formation.

• CSU-Pueblo sits 23rd nationally (1st RMAC) in 3rd down conversion percentage (45.5%). 

• The Pack are 5th in the RMAC in total offense with 428.0 yards per game. 

• Scoring 39.4 points per game they sit 2nd in the RMAC and 17th in NCAA Division II.

DEFENSE

• 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 13th nationally (1st in RMAC) in scoring defense this season at 15.7 points per game.

• The Pack have 17 interceptions in 2017 to rank 1st in the RMAC and 2nd nationally. With five fumble recoveries added to the INT total, CSU-Pueblo ranks 2nd in the RMAC and 14th in Division II in turnovers gained (22).

• The ThunderWolves totalled four pix sixes in 2016. CSU-Pueblo has five returned for scores (T-4th nationally in defensive TDs). CB Darius Williams has three this season to tie for the most in NCAA Division II (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 then returned on for 25 yards against WSCU (Oct. 28.

• Williams has at least one pick six in each of his three seasons with the Pack and four in his career. His seven interceptions is a RMAC best and ranks T-1st in NCAA Division II. It also ties the program record for most in season, set by Dickie Johnson (1978),  Steve Chavez (1967), Stephan Dickens (2014),  C.J. Roberts (2014). His 196 return yards is also a program record, set by C.J. Roberts in 2012 (187 yards) on five interceptions. 

• Since 2008, the Pack have totaled 33 interception returns for a touchdown. The most in a season is five by the 2010, 2014 and 2017 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 1st in the league (28th nationally) in rushing defense, allowing 115.2 yards per game.

• The ThunderWolves allowed just 14 passing yards to Western State and 84 total yards. 

• The Pack lead the RMAC and rank 19th nationally in total defense, allowing 290.6 yards per game.

• Junior inside linebacker Brandon Payer has 88 tackles with 58 solo. He is 3rd in the RMAC in tackles and in solo tackles (9th nationally). He adds 4.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss (-46 yards). 

• Williams (seven interceptions, six break-ups) and Taylor (five interceptions, eight break-ups) each rank 4th in the RMAC and 19th nationally in passes defended with 13.

• The Pack's red zone defense is the best in the RMAC and ranks 7th nationally. They are allowing their opponent to score on 63.6 percent of their attempts (14-of-22). Of their 14 scores, 11 have gone for touchdowns. 

SPECIAL TEAMS   

• 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 4th in the RMAC in blocked kicks.  CSU-Pueblo is T-2nd in the RMAC and T-18th 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 25 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 38th nationally in kick returns (22.4 ypr) and 31st (2nd in RMAC) in punt returns (12.6 ypr). CSU-Pueblo ranks 7th nationally in punt return defense, allowing just 2.7 yards per attempt. 

• New kicker, R-Fr. Mitchell Carter is 46-for-47 on extra points and 9-of-10 on field goals this season. He ranks 3rd in NCAA Division II in the category of field goal percentage (min. 1 FGA per game). His 73 points is second on the team and is fifth in the RMAC.

• Junior punter Tanner Cuda is averaging 40.6 yards per kick to rank 34th nationally (4th in the RMAC). He has placed 19 of his 37 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. 

–30 –

As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics.