Chadron State next up for No. 12 Pack Football Saturday at the ThunderBowl

Chadron State next up for No. 12 Pack Football Saturday at the ThunderBowl

PUEBLO, Colo. (September 7, 2018) - The Colorado State University-Pueblo football team will host Chadron State College Saturday, Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl. The ThunderWolves enter the contest rank No. 12 in the American Football Coaches Association poll and No. 11 in the D2Football.com rankings.

THE GAME 

•  Both teams enter the contest with a 1-0 record after scoring more than 45 points in big victories. The ThunderWolves jumped out 21-0 early in the second quarter, en route to a 56-14 home win against Dixie State in week 1, while Chadron State bested Black Hills State 45-8.  

• The ThunderWolves were picked to finish first in the RMAC preseason poll and currently rank No. 12 in the AFCA poll and No. 13 in the D2Football.com poll. 

• CSC was selected to finish fifth in the coaches' poll after going 6-5 overall and 6-4 in league play a season ago. 

• The ThunderWolves are 9-1 all-time in the series against the Eagles. CSC won the first game in 2008 by the score of 32-0, but it has been all CSU-Pueblo since then. 

• The Pack have won nine straight which included a 28-6 win in Chadron in week 11 last year. In the last meeting at the ThunderBowl, the Pack were victorious 27-14. 

SCOUTING THE PACK 

• Big plays highlighted the Pack's week one victory, as they totaled six scoring plays of 65 yards or more. Those plays came on the ground, through the air and on a blocked field goal. Three players totaled 94 yards or more rushing, as CSU-Pueblo collected 496 rushing yards to rank first in NCAA Division II after week one. Six touchdowns were scored by the run game, led by a 177-yard, three-touchdown performance from junior Austin Micci. The defense totaled four turnovers, including three interceptions. CSU-Pueblo's seven sacks ranks third nationally, as does the 15 tackles for loss. 

• Micci ranks top 10 nationally in rushing yards per game (4th), rushing TD's (6th) and rushing yards (8th).  

• Michael Wristen totaled 2.5 sacks against DSU (gathered 3.5 in 2017). He ranks sixth nationally, as does Emery Taylor in passes defended (3.0).

• The defense hasn't allowed a fourth quarter score in the last six regular season games and just 10 in the last 10 regular games (all against Adams State Oct. 7).

• The Pack had two touchdowns on special teams last season and already have one in 2018 with the blocked field goal attempt returned for a score against DSU.

• Sophomore K Mitchell Carter missed one extra point last year and so far is a perfect 8-for-8 in 2018.   

SCOUTING CHADRON STATE

• Chadron State got out to a 28-0 lead against the Yellow Jackets and finished the game with a balanced three rushing and three passing scores. The Eagles were a perfect 4-for-4 in red zone opportunities and totaled 461 yards of offense. 

• RB Kevin Coy, Jr. rushed for 115 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries, while Stevann Brown added 84 yards on 15 carries. 

• WR Tevon Wright was the team's top receiver with 80 yards on four receptions. QB Dalton Holst was 13-for-19 for 150 yards and a score, while TD Stein was 2-for-4 with both his completions going for touchdowns. 

• LB Tyler Lewis was the team's top tackler with nine (four solo). S Tyree Fryar added eight tackles (seven solo) with 1.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. S Malik Goss had eight tackles (six solo), a tackle for loss and two break-ups. 

THE POLLS 

• CSU-Pueblo entered the 2018 ranked No. 14 in the AFCA and No. 13 D2Football.com polls. The Pack are No. 12 in the AFCA this week and is No. 11 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

• Since 2008, CSU-Pueblo is undefeated when scoring 35 or more points (52-0) and when allowing 10 points or less (39-0).

• Since 2008, the ThunderWolves are 52-11 (.825) at the ThunderBowl.

• The ThunderWolves already have six scoring plays of 65-yards or more and own four scoring drives of 75 yards or more. 

• The ThunderWolves have a 74-8 record since 2008 when scoring first (1-0 this season).

CSU-PUEBLO POSITION NOTABLES

OFFENSE

• Last season, the Pack were 4th in the RMAC during the regular season in rushing offense with 191.5 yards per game. Against Dixie State, the ThunderWolves established a program record with 497 yards on the ground. The previous top three were: 481 against Westminster in 1977, 435 yards against Western New Mexico, Oct. 31, 2009 and last season's 405 rushing yards against New Mexico Highlands. 

• The 496 yards was the most in NCAA Division II for week one. 

• The Pack racked up the yards by committee with three players who collected 94 or more yards. Austin Micci ranks eighth nationally with his 177 yards and sixth in Division II in rushing touchdowns with three. Marché Dennard added 132 yards on five carries with two touchdowns and Bernard McDondle totaled 94 yards and a score on six carries. 

• With 56 points in the first game, the ThunderWolves are second in the nation in scoring.

• Brandon Edwards started at QB and went an efficient 4-of-5 for 77 yards and a 68-yard touchdown strike to WR Cole Forsgren. Forsgren had two receptions for 75 yards to lead the team. 

• All five starting offensive linemen last season were seniors, but the new front didn't hesitate to step up and guided the rushing attack to a record 496 yards, while allowing only two sacks. 

DEFENSE

• The Pack have been one of the most stingiest and unforgiving defenses in the nation the past eight 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. 

• The defense closed the 2017 regular season top 20 nationally in eight categories, red zone defense (3rd, 57.7%), interceptions (4th, 21), team passing efficiency defense (4th, 88.95), defensive touchdowns (7th, 5), scoring defense (10th, 14.3), total defense (10th, 273.5), turnovers gained (11th, 27) and passing yards allowed (18th, 164.6).

• CSU-Pueblo continued their dominance in the opener against Dixie State with three interceptions, four turnovers and allowed 14 points (six on defense). 

• 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. 

• CB Darius Williams wasn't one of the three with a pick, but has at least one pick six in each of his three seasons with the Pack and four in his career. His eight interceptions last season established a new program record, was a RMAC best and ranked T-2nd in NCAA Division II. 

• Fellow starting CB Emery Taylor did have an interception against the Trailblazers after totaling six last season. He also added two pass break-ups in the win.

• 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. 

• 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 was 1st in the league in the category last season and gave up just 68 yards against Dixie State.

• The Pack recorded seven sacks against DSU and compiled 15 tackles for loss to rank third in NCAA Division II this season in both categories. DE Michael Wristen finished with 2.5 sacks (-16 yards) and three tackles for loss (-18) after totalling 3.5 sacks in all of 2017.

• ILB Brandon Payer finished last season with 110 tackles with 71 solo. His 71 solo efforts established a new program record and ranked 22nd nationally. He started the season guiding the team with nine tackles (six solo) and 1.5 tackles for loss. 

SPECIAL TEAMS   

• The Pack had four blocked kicks last year and have already got their hands on a FG attempt, as Tanner Draper blocked a 27-yard attempt by Dixie State, which was recovered by James Maxie and returned by Darius Williams 68 yards for a touchdown.  

• K Mitchell Carter was 55-for-56 on extra points in his first season with the Pack and started this year 8-for-8. 

• The ThunderWolves recorded 47.4 yards in net punting against Dixie State to rank third, while P Tanner Cuda's 49.6 yards per punt ranks fourth nationally this early season.

#PACKPROS: CSU-Pueblo has three former players in the NFL right now. Ryan Jensen (2009-12) is in his sixth season  and first with Tampa Bay after five with the Baltimore Ravens. After a breakout season where he started all 16 games at center for the Ravens, Jensen inked the largest contract for a center in NFL history. Mike Pennel (2013) is in his fifth overall season and second with the New York Jets. Morgan Fox (2012-15) moved from the practice squad to active roster in 2016 and was on the active roster all of the 2017 season with the Los Angeles Rams. Unfortunately, Fox suffered a knee injury during OTAs and will miss the 2018 season. Darius Allen (2011-14) is currently with the Canadian Football league's Edmonton Eskimos. Pennel, Fox and Allen all play on the defensive line. 

VS. RANKED SQUADS: CSU-Pueblo owns a 17-7 (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. 

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