PUEBLO, Colo. (October 8, 2015) – The No. 7 Colorado State University-Pueblo football team hosts Fort Lewis College Oct. 10 at 2 p.m. in the annual Homecoming Game. The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference battle will also air live on Comcast CET and at halftime will recognize the 2015 class of the CSU-Pueblo Athletics Hall of Fame.
SURROUNDING THE GAME: Saturday marks the annual Homecoming game at CSU-Pueblo. The ThunderWolves have won all seven Homecoming games since 2008 and are 23-6 all-time.
2008 Pack 21, New Mexico Highlands 14
2009 Pack 38, Western State 27
2010 Pack 33, Chadron State 30 (3OT)
2011 Pack 47, Fort Lewis 0
2012 Pack 45, Chadron State 38 (OT)
2013 Pack 35, Fort Lewis 3
2014 Pack 41, Chadron State 13
Also, at halftime CSU-Pueblo will honor its sixth class of the Athletics Hall of Fame, which in 2015 consists of six former athletes, a coach, a team and a special contributor.
SCOUTING THE PACK: The ThunderWolves rolled to a 56-0 victory at Adams State University, Saturday to improve to 3-0 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play.
• The ThunderWolves (4-1, 3-0 RMAC) controlled the ground game on both sides of the ball all game, running for 386 yards, while the defense allowed just 10 rushing yards to Adams State (1-4, 1-2 RMAC).
• The 386 yards is a best rushing effort for the ThunderWolves since the re-start in 2008. The second most was at Adams State Nov. 7, 2009 when CSU-Pueblo totaled 362 yards on the ground.
• The 10 yards allowed marks the sixth time the Pack allowed 10 or less rushing yards since 2008, with the record standing at -4 rushing yards at New Mexico Highlands Nov. 9, 2013.
• The Pack defense totaled six interceptions, which secured a new program record. The previous record was five, set five times previous (the last versus Eastern New Mexico, Aug. 29, 2009)
• The shutout by the defense marked the eighth since 2008, while the point differential is the second best in that same time frame. The ThunderWolves defeated New Mexico Highlands University 66-0 Oct. 30, 2010.
• The Pack totaled three 90-plus yard drives in the game, which marked the first time since the program was brought back in 2008 the Pack had done so.
• Senior Cameron McDondle totaled 203 yards and three touchdowns Saturday for his third career 200-plus yard game and his third, three touchdown game of the season.
• His brother, sophomore Bernard McDondle totaled 191 yards and two touchdowns to mark the second time this season both brothers have gone for 100 or more yards. The two of them combined for 394 yards of offense, 140 more yards than the Grizzlies totaled in the game.
• Sophomore tight end Zach Boyd totaled a career-best 140 yards and two touchdowns on three receptions.
• The Pack totaled 592 yards of offense on 63 plays. The last time CSU-Pueblo racked up that many yards was when it totaled 638 Oct. 26, 2013 at Black Hills State University. In addition to three 90-plus yard drives, the ThunderWolves also recorded three one-play drives.
• C. McDondle and Williams earned RMAC Player of the Week honors, while McDondle was also recognized as the NFFCC Player of the Week.
SCOUTING THE SKYHAWKS: The Skyhawks have turned a 3-8 2014 season into a 4-1 start to the 2015 campaign. FLC has won four straight games, which includes a 3-0 start to the RMAC schedule. Last weekend in a homecoming game against Western New Mexico, the Skyhawks opened a 24-7 halftime lead, en route to a 34-13 win. Facing the top passing team and top passing quarterback in NCAA Division II, Fort Lewis forced eight turnovers and held Western New Mexico to 188 passing yards. FLC's lone loss was to No. 11 in NCAA Division I-FCS, Montana State, 45-14.
The Skyhawks are coached by John L. Smith, who is in his third season at FLC and 20th as a head coach.
FAST START: The last time the Skyhawks opened the season with three straight RMAC wins was in 1977. FLC started the 2006 season 5-0 in the RMAC after winning their season opener on Aug. 26 against Western New Mexico. The Skyhawks then played two non-conference games before winning their next four league games. They have won at least four straight games five times since become a four-year institution. FLC won four straight in 2006, 1985, 1984, 1977 and 1975.
THE LEADERS: Running back PJ Hall has the fourth most rushing yards per game in the league with 117.4. Juquelle Thompson is second in the league in punt return average (9.6 yards), kick return average (22.4 yards), and fifth in all-purpose yards (145.4 yards). Hall has hit the century mark three times this season, including a 190-yard performance this past weekend against WNMU. Andrew Ike leads the team in tackles with 36 (16 solo).
IN THE RMAC: FLC is third in the league in scoring offense (37.2 points per game), total defense (344.4 yards allowed per game), and time of possession (31:21 minutes per game). The Skyhawks rank tied for second in turnover margin at +8 (12 gained, 6 INTs, 6 FR).
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS FLC: The ThunderWolves have a long history with the Skyhawks, as Saturday's game marks the 51st meeting between the programs. The Pack own the series advantage 34-16. CSU-Pueblo entered last season's road game in Durango on a six-game win streak against the Skyhawks, but fell 23-22 in what turned out to be the only loss of 2014. FLC scored a touchdown with 3:46 remaining in regulation for the winning score. The ThunderWolves are 10-2 at home since 1964.
* Complete series history on page 3
THE POLLS: CSU-Pueblo entered the 2015 season as the No. 2 team in both AFCA and D2Football.com preseason polls after finishing the 2014 season No. 1 in both publications' year-end poll. The Pack rank No. 7 in both the D2Football.com poll and AFCA poll.
• 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).
• Since 2011, the ThunderWolves have won 52 games (52-5 record during that span).
• The Pack have recorded 25 consecutive regular season home victories, dating back to a 66-0 win against New Mexico Highlands Oct. 30, 2010. CSU-Pueblo went 8-0 at home last season and since reinstating the program in 2008, the ThunderWolves are 37-9 at the ThunderBowl.
• Two straight games last season (Nov. 15 and Nov. 29) the ThunderWolves posted scores in all three areas of the game. The Pack scored a touchdown in all facets against WT with an 80-yard touchdown run, two interceptions for scores and a 98-yard kick return for a touchdown.
• The red zone has been good to the ThunderWolves on both sides of the ball, as the defense ranks 11th nationally by allowing the opponent to score 57.1 percent of the time. The Pack offense has scored on a 88.9 percent clip this season to sit 19th in Division II.
• Head Coach John Wristen's earned his 70th win as head of the program Sept 19 against Western State. He is 72-17 in eight seasons at CSU-Pueblo.
• All five road games this season are located in a different state, Texas, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota and New Mexico.
CSU-PUEBLO POSITION NOTABLES
• Senior running back Cameron McDondle has rushed for more than 100 yards in 24 career games and after Oct. 3 has three 200 yard games. He ran for 203 yards and three touchdowns against Adams State, while his career best is 235 yards at Colorado Mines, Oct 13, 2012. He has three, three touchdown games this season and four in his career. His lowest rushing game this season is 166 yards.
• With 927 yards he leads NCAA Division II, while his 185.4 rushing yards per game is second in the nation. With 11 touchdowns on the ground he ranks third nationally, while his 7.79 yards per carry is good for 14th. If McDondle rushes for 73 yards Saturday he will becoming the fastest rusher to 1,000 yards in program history.
• He is the school's all-time career rushing leader with 4,643 yards on the ground, which ranks third all-time in the RMAC history books. McDondle's 43 career rushing touchdowns is also a program record and ranks fifth all-time in the RMAC.
• Bernard McDondle rushed for 125 yards against Central Washington to combined with brother Cameron for 301 yards and mark the first time the Pack had two, 100-yard rushers in a game since 2012 against West Texas A&M (J.B. Mathews -153 and Chris Ashe - 105). The tandem outdid themselves at ASU and combined for 394 yards of offense, 140 more yards than the Grizzlies totaled in the game.
• B. McDondle owns 434 rushing yards this season. His 86.8 yards per game ranks ninth in the RMAC. His 7.75 yards per carry is good for 10th nationally.
• The ThunderWolves rank sixth nationally in rushing offense with 283.6 yards per game.
• The Pack rank No. 33 nationally in sacks allowed, as the offensive line has only allowed five sacks for a loss of 40 yards.
• Seniors Kieren Duncan and Deontrae Cooper lead the receiving group this season, as they have brought in 12 and 11 receptions, respectfully. Tight end Zach Boyd leads in yards (222) and touchdowns (2) on six receptions. Duncan has totaled 189 yards, while Cooper owns 176 yards.
• The Pack have been one of the most stingiest and unforgiving defenses in the nation the past four seasons. Since 2011, the ThunderWolves have ranked in the top 22 nationally each season in scoring defense, which includes leading the country in 2011 and 2014. CSU-Pueblo has also ranked in the top 21 in turnover ratio with the nation's best mark last season.
• In 2015, the Pack defense has created 13 turnovers (11 interceptions) and turned them into 59 points. The 11 interceptions ranks fifth nationally, while the three defensive touchdowns sits fourth in NCAA Division II. Seven different players have interceptions this year (four players with two) and the have totaled 211 return yards. The three who have brought the pick back for six are LaRon Tarkington, 25 yards and Samuel Singleton, 10 yards at West Texas and Darius Williams, 53 yards at Adams State.
• CSU-Pueblo has eight shutouts since 2008 and this season rank 18th nationally in scoring defense, as it has allowed 16.4 points per game.
• The ThunderWolves are 37-3 since 2008 when they force three or more turnovers in a game.
• The Pack totaled at least three sacks in 11 of 15 contests last season and have recorded three or more sacks in each of the first five games to start the 2015 campaign. The Pack have totalled 20 sacks this season to rank second in NCAA Division II for most sacks and tied for third nationally with 4.0 sacks per game. CSU-Pueblo is ninth in tackles for loss per game (9.4 tflpg).
• Defensive end Morgan Fox has 11 sacks this season to lead NCAA Division II. He is chasing former teammate Darius Allen for the program sack record. Fox has 30 in his career, while Allen capped his four-year career in 2014 with 34.5 career sacks. The 10 solo sacks and -91 sack yards are also tops in the country.
• Fox also ranks tied for second in NCAA Division II in tackles for loss with 14, while the -97 lost yards is also second in the nation.
• 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 18 more occasions. Twice this season the Pack has allowed 15 or less net yards on the ground. Western New Mexico totaled 15 yards on the ground, then the following week the Pack allowed just 10 rushing yards at Adams State. 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.
• The ThunderWolves are allowing 63.4 rushing yards per game to sit fourth nationally.
• West Texas A&M running back Geremy Alridge-Mitchell rushed for three touchdowns against the Pack Sept. 12, marking the first time an opponent has recorded three touchdowns on the ground since Ed Goodlow did so for Central State, Sept. 8, 1984.
• Senior Kieren Duncan's 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against West Texas A&M is the third longest in NCAA Division II so far this season and has helped the ThunderWolves sit No. 1 nationally in kickoff returns (37.88 yards per return).
• Greg O'Donnell is 5-of-7 on field goal attempts and has converted on all 24 extra point attempts.
• With five blocked punts, the special teams unit finished third nationally in the category in 2014. The Pack have blocked three kicks this season (punt, two field goals) to rank 21st nationally. The blocked punt was returned 19 yards for a score by Zach Young against Central Washington.
RMAC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
• Kieren Duncan (Sept. 14, Special Teams) - Duncan returned a kickoff 98 yards to the end zone to put the ThunderWolves within one at 31-30 with under two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter at West Texas A&M. On two kickoff returns he totaled 131 yards (65.5 yards per return average).
• Morgan Fox (Sept. 28, Defense) - Fox continued to rack up sacks Saturday, as he totaled three in the 42-27 home victory against Western New Mexico University. The three sacks resulted in the loss of 31 yards for the Mustangs. Fox totaled six tackles (four solo), three tackles for loss and added four quarterback hurries. Fox helped the Pack allow just 15 yards rushing in the game and only six points in the second half.
• Cameron McDondle (Oct. 5, Offensive) - McDondle was named RMAC Offensive Player of the Week as he continued to show why he leads the nation in rushing, as he racked up 203 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries in the 56-0 victory at Adams State University. He averaged 10.7 yards per carry and recorded rushing touchdowns of 73, 41 and 17 yards. He only carried the ball once in the second half, as he totaled 186 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries (10.3 ypc) in the first two quarters. He added one reception for seven yards to round out his day on an even 210 yards of offense.
• Darius Williams (Oct. 5, Defensive) - In his first collegiate start, Williams intercepted two passes and returned them 98 yards, which included a 53-yard interception for a touchdown. The redshirt freshman also added a team-high two breakups and a solo tackle in the victory at Adams State. His first collegiate pick was returned 45 yards to the ASU 17. On the next Adams State possession, Williams jumped in front of a pass and returned it untouched to the end zone for his first touchdown as a member of the ThunderWolves.
• The ThunderWolves (14-1 in 2014) return 16 starters from the 2014 NCAA Division II National Championship team, which includes six on a defensive unit that finished first in NCAA Division II in scoring defense (12.8 ppg) and passes intercepted (29) and tied for first in defensive touchdowns (7) and turnovers gained (43). CSU-Pueblo also finished first nationally in total sacks with 57.
• The Pack offense returns four All-Americans.
• Senior running back Cameron McDondle, who set a ThunderWolves single-season record with 2,014 rushing yards to finish third nationally.
• Four starters on the offensive line, a unit that ranked 26th nationally in least sacks allowed, return in 2015.
• On special teams, senior place kicker Greg O'Donnell returns after he hit 21 field goals to tie for the second most in Division II last season.
#PACKPROS:CSU-Pueblo has two former players in the NFL in 2015. Ryan Jensen (2009-12) is in his third season with the Baltimore Ravens and Mike Pennel (2013) is in his second season with the Green Bay Packers. Pennel is starting and has six tackles (four solo) through three games on the defensive line, while Jensen has played in two of the three games on the offensive line for the Ravens. The Pack also has two players on the practice squad of the Canadian Football League's Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
THE STREAK: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.
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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.