No. 12 ThunderWolves run past Eagles 34-13

No. 12 ThunderWolves run past Eagles 34-13

PUEBLO, Colo. (September 8, 2018) - The No. 12 Colorado State University-Pueblo football team defeated Chadron State College 34-13 Saturday in a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference contest at Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl. The ThunderWolves improved to 2-0 on the season and in league play.

The run game was again the story for the offense, as the Pack rushed for 285 yards and four touchdowns. Senior Marché Dennard (Phoenix, Ariz.) had his second 100-yard rushing game, as he collected 147 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries. His long rush went for 70 yards and he averaged 11.3 yards per carry. Senior Bernard McDondle (Littleton, Colo.) added 66 yards and a score, while junior Austin Micci (Colorado Springs, Colo.) totaled 53 yards. 

The CSU-Pueblo defense held the Eagles (1-1, 1-1 RMAC) to 118 yards rushing and despite not recording a sack, the squad had eight tackles for loss (-16 yards). Junior Tanner Draper (Amarillo, Texas) brought in the only turnover with a key interception before the end of the first half. Senior Brandon Payer (Pine, Colo.) compiled 12 tackles (five solo) with four tackles for loss that resulted in seven lost yards. 

Special teams played an important role and helped create a momentum swing with a blocked punt attempt that set up the offense at the one-yard line. The next play, McDondle crossed the goal line to give the home team a 14-0 lead with 11:43 left in the second quarter. 

On the second offensive drive of the game, Dennard scored from four yards out two plays after senior quarterback Brandon Edwards (Bothell, Wash.) hit senior wide receiver Kevin Ribarich (Pueblo, Colo.) on a 35 yard pass that put the team in the red zone. 

The score remained 7-0 until Luke Conilogue (So., LB, Erie, Colo.) blocked an Eagle punt to set up McDondle. Last week, a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown set the tone for CSU-Pueblo and gave the home team a 14-0 lead. Dennard made it 21-0 when he busted a 70-yard touchdown run with 9:22 remaining in the half.

Chadron State responded with a score, but the ThunderWolves blocked the extra point. Draper's late half interception when the Eagles were driving (had gone 49 yards on nine plays), gave the offense a chance to add points with 1:03 remaining. Draper returned his pick 31 yards to the Pack 46 and the offense marched 45 yards to set up Mitchell Carter (So., Colorado Springs, Colo.) on a 26-yard field goal. The Carter kick as time expired handed the home team a 24-6 lead.

Dennard scored his third touchdown of the night and fifth of the season with 5:01 remaining in the third quarter when he rushed 22 yards to cap a 10-play, 68-yard drive by the Pack. Both CSC scores came on big plays, as the Eagles scored on a 47-yard run with 3:14 in the third.

Again the Pack shutout their opponent in the fourth quarter for the second time this season and the seventh straight regular season game. 

The lone score in the fourth came off the foot of Carter on a 24-yard field goal to push the score to 34-13, which is where it stood at the final horn. 

Carter finished with 10 points, as he was 4-for-4 on extra points and added his first two field goal of the season. Punter Tanner Cuda (Sr., Castle Pines, Colo.) averaged 42.4 yards per punt with five of his eight attempts settling inside the 20 and his long going for 65 yards. 

In addition to his interceptions, Draper tallied the second most tackles with 10 (four solo) and added a tackle for loss. Senior corner Darius Williams (Gilbert, Ariz.) added seven tackles (four solo) with a tackle for loss and a break-up. Linebacker Steven O'Malley (So., Denver, Colo.) also had seven tackles (one solo). 

The quarterbacks combined to go 9-for-13 (69.2%) for 91 yards. Edwards was 6-for-8 for 66 yards and junior AJ Thompson (Denver, Colo.) was 3-for-5 for 25 yards. Ribarich led the team with two receptions for 40 yards. 

Next for the Pack is a road trip to Colorado School of Mines Sept. 15. Kickoff in Golden, Colo. is set for a 12 p.m. start. 

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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.