PUEBLO, Colo. (October 21, 2015) – The No. 6 Colorado State University-Pueblo football team will host undefeated and No. 7 Colorado School of Mines Saturday in a 2 p.m. Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference showdown at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl.
SCOUTING THE PACK: Facing its largest deficit of the season, the No. 6 CSU-Pueblo football team erased a 10-0 first quarter score with 48 unanswered points for the 48-10 victory at Chadron State Saturday.
• The Pack (6-1, 5-0 RMAC) used 452 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the ground to run up the score on the Eagles (3-4, 2-3 RMAC) in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference contest. The 452 yards is just shy of the program record of 481 rushing yards, set by the 1977 team against Westminster.
• B. McDondle outshined his older brother for the first time this season, as he rushed for 207 yards on 11 attempts to average an outrageous 18.8 yards per carry. C. McDondle, who entered the game leading the nation in rushing, recorded his seventh game with 150-yards-plus. On 17 attempts he ran for 158 yards (9.3 ypc), while the four touchdowns is the most by a CSU-Pueblo player since J.B. Mathews crossed the goal line four times versus Western New Mexico University, Sept. 15, 2012.
• The ThunderWolves combined for 619 yards of offense, which is third most in program history. The 2013 team totaled 638 yards of offense at Black Hills State University (Oct. 26).
• The defense stood tall after allowing 137 yards and 10 points in the first quarter, as the ThunderWolves kept the Eagles off the scoreboard the rest of the way. CSU-Pueblo has held its opponent to 10 or less points for the third straight game, fourth time this season and 30th time since 2008 (30-0 in those games). The Pack also held a CSC team that was averaging 237.3 rushing yards per game to 91 yards. The Pack have held their opponent to 100 or less rushing yards in all seven games this season and entered the contest ranked fourth in NCAA Division II.
• Two players led CSU-Pueblo in tackles, as junior linebacker Samuel Singleton totaled six tackles (three solo), with one of the two Pack sacks (-6 yards). Junior safety Joseph Jones also recorded six tackles (four solo), pulled down the only ThunderWolves interception (returned 52 yards) and added one breakup.
SCOUTING THE OREDIGGERS: The Orediggers are one of 10 teams in NCAA Division II still undefeated, as CSM owns a 7-0 overall mark and 5-0 RMAC record. Colorado Mines is coming off a 48-28 home victory against Fort Lewis.
The Orediggers are coached by Gregg Brandon, who is in his first year with the program. Brandon and CSU-Pueblo Head Coach John Wristen coached together at Northwestern and Colorado.
OFFENSIVE NUMBERS: Colorado Mines ranks second nationally in total offense with 546.6 yards per game. The passing offense is putting up 373 yards per game, which ranks third in NCAA Division II. With 49.3 points per game, the Orediggers lead the nation in scoring.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Quarterback Justin Dvorak has led the offense with 2,580 yards (third nationally), 29 passing TDs (second nationally), 170.6 passing efficiency (fourth nationally) and 204 points responsible for (first nationally). His number one target is Cole Spurgeon, who owns 99.1 yards per game (16th nationally) and 10 receiving TDs (fourth nationally).
THE DEFENSE: The Colorado Mines defense is also performing at a high level and allowing only 19.3 points per game to rank 27th in Division II. The Orediggers own 3.43 sacks per contest to sit 11th in the nation.
DEFENSIVE LEADERS: CSM owns 24 sacks and 15.5 have come from three starters on the defensive line. Emmanuel Graves and Tommy Hoskins each own 5.5 sacks, while Graves has totaled 40 tackles (8.5 for loss). Linebacker Jeff Grenfell leads the team with 54 tackles (28 solo) and is one of three players with two picks.
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS CSM: The ThunderWolves are 16-8 all-time against the Orediggers, which includes four straight victories. Last season the Pack picked up a 20-12 road win against the then-No. 11 CSM. CSU-Pueblo is 10-1 all-time against Colorado Mines at home. The Orediggers won the first three meetings since the restart in 2008, but the Pack have won the next four by a 126-67 margin.
* 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. 6 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 54 games (54-5 record during that span).
The Pack have recorded 26 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.
In the last three wins, the ThunderWolves have outscored the opponent 149-19, AND
- Rushed for 1,149 yards (383 ypg), allowed 173 yards rushing (57.7 ypg)
- Totaled 1,665 yards of offense (555 ypg), allowed 851 total yards (283.7 ypg)
- Recorded 10 sacks, allowed three
- Own a +4 turnover margin
CSU-Pueblo has scored more than 40 points in five of the seven games this season, which includes the last four games. The Pack average 40.3 points per game in 2015 to sit 17th nationally. They are now 40-0 since 2008 when scoring 35 or more points.
Big scoring plays have been a signature of success this season for the Pack. Ten times the ThunderWolves have posted a play of 50 yards or more for a score, which includes a touchdown in all three areas of the game:
Cameron McDondle 80 yard TD run at West Texas A&M
Kieren Duncan 98 yard kick return TD at West Texas
Cameron McDondle 73 yards TD run at Adams State
AJ Thompson to Zach Boyd 90 yard TD at Adams State
Darius Williams 53 yard interception TD at Adams State
Bernard McDondle 84 yard TD run at Adams State
AJ Thompson to Kieren Duncan 70 yard TD vs Fort Lewis
Cameron McDondle 77 yard TD run at Chadron State
Bernard McDondle 67 and 66 TD runs at Chadron State
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 fourth nationally by allowing the opponent to score 52.9 percent of the time. The Pack offense has scored on a 88 percent clip this season to sit 21st in Division II.
Head Coach John Wristen's earned his 70th win as head of the program Sept 19 against Western State. He is 73-17 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 26 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 established a new career record with four touchdowns at Chadron State (Oct. 17). He has three, three touchdown games this season and four in his career. He has rushed for more than 150 yards in a all seven games this season.
With 17 touchdowns on the ground he ranks first in NCAA Division II, while his 1,237 yards and 176.7 rushing yards per game is second in the nation. His 14.6 points per game is also second best in the country. With 7.83 yards per carry, C. McDondle ranks sixth nationally. His 182.7 all-purpose yards ranks sixth in Division II. He is the fastest rusher to 1,000 yards in program history.
He is the school's all-time career rushing leader with 4,953 yards on the ground, which ranks second all-time in the RMAC history books. He's second only to Danny Woodhead, of Chadron State, who finished with a whopping 7,962 career rushing yards. McDondle's 49 career rushing touchdowns is also a program record and ranks third all-time in the RMAC. Second place owns 54 rushing touchdowns, while Woodhead owns the record with 101.
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. A third time the two rushed for more than 100 yards came against Fort Lewis (Cameron - 152, Bernard - 114), while fourth occurred at Chadron State (Bernard - 207, Cameron - 158).
B. McDondle owns 755 rushing yards this season to rank 28th nationally, while his 9.21 rushing yards per carry is the best in NCAA Division II. With 107.9 yards per game, B. McDondle ranks fifth in the RMAC and 34th nationally. He has found the end zone eight times to rank fourth in the league and 34th in the country.
The ThunderWolves rank fifth nationally in rushing offense with 311.6 yards per game. Three straight games the Pack have rushed for more than 300 yards, culminating with the 452 yards at Chadron State that fell just 29 yards shy of the record of 481 rushing yards, set by the 1977 team against Westminster. The 452 yards is the eighth most by a team this season in NCAA Division II, while the seven rushing scores against the Eagles is tied for the third most by a team this season.
The Pack rank No. 25 nationally in sacks allowed, as the offensive line has allowed eight sacks for a loss of 58 yards.
Senior Kieren Duncan is guiding the team in receptions with 17 (305 yards), while tight end Zach Boyd leads in yards with 321 (12 receptions) and touchdowns with three.
The ThunderWolves are 19th in NCAA Division II in passing yards per completion with 14.85.
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 14 turnovers (12 interceptions) and turned them into 66 points. The 12 interceptions ranks 19th nationally, while the three defensive touchdowns sits 12th in NCAA Division II. Eight different players have interceptions this year (four players with two) and the have totaled 263 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 10th nationally in scoring defense, as it has allowed 14.4 points per game. The Pack have held their opponent to 10 points or less four times this season and are 30-0 since 2008 when doing so.
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 six games of the seven contests in 2015. The Pack have totalled 25 sacks this season to rank ninth in NCAA Division II for most sacks and for 3.57 sacks per game. CSU-Pueblo is tied for eighth in tackles for loss per game (9.0 tflpg, -306 yards).
Defensive end Morgan Fox has 11 sacks this season, which is the second most in 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 is tied for second and the -91 sack yards is tops in the country. (Note: Fox doesn't qualify to be listed on national stats because he hasn't played in 75% of the team's games)
Foxwould also appear in the top 10 nationally in tackles for loss with 14, tackles for loss per game (2.8), as would the -97 lost yards.
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 68.6 rushing yards per game to sit sixth 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. 2 nationally in kickoff returns (31.46 yards per return).
Greg O'Donnell is 6-of-8 on field goal attempts (75% is 32nd nationally) and has converted on 36-of-37 extra point attempts.
O'Donnell is the program's scoring leader with 381 points. His 56 field goals is also a program record, set this season with a 31-yard make against Western State (Sept. 19).
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 37th 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.
• Bernard McDondle (Oct. 19, Offensive) - McDondle, the backup running back, rushed 11 times for 207 yards and three touchdowns in the 48-10 road victory at Chadron State. He averaged 18.8 yards per carry and now leads the nation in the category with 9.21 yards per carry. His three touchdown runs consisted of 66-, 10- and 67-yards.
#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.