Pack hopes win will improve positioning as playoffs approach.
GUNNISON, Colo. (GoThunderWolves.com - Nov. 6, 2010) - CSU-Pueblo took care of business Saturday in a road showdown at Western State, playing stout on both sides of the ball as the ThunderWolves scored a 37-3 win over the Mountaineers.
The Pack's key to success was its running game, which racked up 314 yards on the ground, 239 coming from Jesse Lewis (Jr., Loveland, Colo.), who used the gaudy rushing numbers to take over sole possession of first place in CSU-Pueblo history for most rushing yards in a season, now at 1,206 yards this year. He broke the mark set by two-time All-American and recent CSU-Pueblo Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, Bill Gower. Lewis also ran for a touchdown, equalling the single season rushing touchdown record of 11 set by Joe Pannunzio in 1980.
Defensively, CSU-Pueblo got a very strong game from its defensive front seven, equalling a season high with five sacks, 1-1/2 coming from RMAC Defensive Freshman of the Year candidate, Beau Martin (Fr., Littleton, Colo.). The defensive backfield was also strong, as cornerbacks Stephan Dickens (Fr., Aurora, Colo.) and Chris Brown (Sr., Aurora, Colo.) each had picks, helping to hold Western State to just 116 yards of passing and 247 yards of total offense.
"When you run the ball for 300 yards and get strong play from your defense, you know you're going to be pretty successful," Pack coach John Wristen said. "It was nice to see our offense, and especially our running game, execute well when they were throwing eight- and nine-man fronts at us."
Overall, the 37-3 win was the ThunderWolves' biggest in terms of margin-of-victory over the Mountaineers in school history, shattering the mark of 21 points in the school's 1982 meeting. The back-and-forth series which has been all ThunderWolves since the school's football program was re-started in 2008, now sits at nine wins apiece.
The win, combined with losses by three teams ranked ahead of the ThunderWolves in the Super Region Three rankings could greatly improve its chances to sneak into a playoff spot. RMAC-foe, Colorado Mines, lost Saturday, as did regional foes Winona State and the region's top-ranked team, Augustana. Entering the week, Mines was ranked eighth and Winona was ninth. CSU-Pueblo entered the week unranked in the Super Region's top ten, needing to get their way into the top six for a national playoff spot.
The Pack will get its final shot at postseason play next Saturday, when they close out its regular season in Silver City, N.M. against Western New Mexico.