PUEBLO, Colo. (October 30, 2015) – The No. 4 Colorado State University-Pueblo football team heads to Spearfish, S.D. Saturday, the home of Black Hills State University for a 12 p.m. kickoff in a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference game.
SCOUTING THE PACK: In a battle between two top 10 opponents, the No. 6 Colorado State University-Pueblo football team trounced No. 7 Colorado School of Mines 49-21 in a showdown between the 2014 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Co-Champions.
• After both defenses held the opposing sides scoreless in the first quarter, the ThunderWolves used a 28 point second quarter to gain a cushion over Mines. The Pack held CSM's second-ranked nationally offense scoreless in the first half for the first time this season.
• Cameron McDondle rushed for a program single-game record galloping for 308 yards on 26 carries, surpassing Frank Hester's 304 record performance set in 1965. He also added two touchdowns. The fewest yards he's ran for this season is 152.
• Bernard McDondle rushed for 33 yards and two touchdowns. This performance from both brothers, marked the fourth straight contest both have notched multiple touchdowns on the ground.
• Quarterback AJ Thompson threw for 118 yards and two scores on 8-of-11 (72.7%) passing and rushed for 35 yards on seven carries.
• The defense held Mines to their lowest point total of the season, the previous low was 28 in a win against Chadron State.
• The 434 rushing yards marked the second-straight week rushing for more than 400 yards as a unit, 434 vs Mines, 452 last week vs Chadron State.
SCOUTING THE YELLOW JACKETS: The Yellow Jackets are 0-8 to start the season. BHSU has lost by two or less points twice this season, which includes last week in the 39-38 setback at home against Chadron State.
The Yellow Jackets are coached by John Reiners, who is in his fourth year as head of the program. He was the offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator at BHSU prior to taking the head job.
• At 0-8, the Yellow Jackets are off to their toughest start in school history. In 2013, BHSU opened 0-7 but picked up their first win of the season in week 8 and closed out by winning three of the final four games.
• Black Hills State has allowed 48.3 points per game this season, while scoring just 18.4 per contest. The Yellow Jackets have allowed 562.6 yards and totaled 369.9 yards per game this season.
• BHSU ranks eighth nationally in fewest penalties with 37 (40.13 penalty yards per game is also eighth).
• Freshman QB Ryan Hommel owns 1,787 yards and seven touchdowns with 11 interceptions and has two favorite targets in Bradley Adamson and Jerome Krysl. Both have totaled 26 receptions for 303 and 314 yards, respectfully. Phydell Paris leads the rushing attack with 745 yards and 10 scores on the ground.
• Linebacker Cody Okray leads the team in tackles with 67 (20 solo) with five tackles for loss. Linebacker Thayer Sauter has totaled 48 tackles, which includes a team-best 6.5 for loss (-18 yards).
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS BHSU: The ThunderWolves have a short history with the Yellow Jackets, as the Pack own a 3-0 all-time record between the teams. CSU-Pueblo owns the scoring advantage 145-7. In the lone road game in the series, the Pack won 51-17 in 2013. Last season at home, the ThunderWolves won 49-7.
* 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. 4 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 55 games (55-5 record during that span).
• The Pack have recorded 27 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 40-9 at the ThunderBowl.
• In the last four wins, the ThunderWolves have outscored the opponent 198-40, AND:
- Rushed for 1,583 yards (395.8 ypg), allowed 247 yards rushing (61.8 ypg)
- Totaled 2,211 yards of offense (552.8 ypg), allowed 1,218 total yards (304.5 ypg)
- Recorded 12 sacks, allowed five
- Own a +4 turnover margin
• CSU-Pueblo has scored more than 40 points in six of the eight games this season, which includes the last five games. The Pack average 41.4 points per game in 2015 to sit 13th nationally. They are now 41-0 since 2008 when scoring 35 or more points.
• The ThunderWolves combined for 619 yards of offense at Chadron State, which is third most in program history. The 2013 team totaled 638 yards of offense at Black Hills State University (Oct. 26).
• Big scoring plays have been a signature of success this season for the Pack. Thirteen times the ThunderWolves have posted a play of 49 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
Deontrae Cooper 75 yard TD pass from AJ Thompson vs Western State
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 yard TD run at Chadron State
Bernard McDondle 66 yard TD run at Chadron State
Cameron McDondle 70 yard TD run vs Colorado Mines
Kieren Duncan 49 yard TD pass from AJ Thompson vs Colorado Mines
• The ThunderWolves have been extremely successful in the second quarter this season with 127 points scored (15.9 ppg). The defense has allowed just 27 points (3.4 ppg) in the second frame this season. Black Hills State has scored 147 points all season, just 20 points more than the Pack have scored in the second quarter alone.
• 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 sixth nationally by allowing the opponent to score 57.1 percent of the time. The Pack offense has scored on a 90 percent clip this season to sit 10th in Division II.
• Head Coach John Wristen's earned his 70th win as head of the program Sept 19 against Western State. He is 75-17 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 27 career games, has three 200 yard games and rushed for a single-game program record of 308 yards Oct. 24 against Colorado Mines. He ran for 203 yards and three touchdowns against Adams State. 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 all eight games this season.
• With 19 touchdowns on the ground he ranks first in NCAA Division II and owns the new single-season program record for touchdowns. His 1,545 yards is also first in the country, while the 193.1 rushing yards per game is second in the nation. His 14.3 points per game is third best in the country, as is his 8.35 yards per carry. McDondle's 198.4 all-purpose yards ranks fourth in Division II. He eclipsed 1,000 yards in six games to become the fastest to 1,000 in program history.
• He is the school's all-time career rushing leader with 5,261 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 51 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 combine 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).
• The two combined for seven rushing touchdowns at Chadron State (four for Cameron).
• B. McDondle owns 788 rushing yards this season to rank 44th nationally, while his 8.95 rushing yards per carry is the best in NCAA Division II. With 98.5 yards per game, B. McDondle ranks fifth in the RMAC and 51st nationally. He has found the end zone 10 times to rank third in the league and 22nd in the country.
• The ThunderWolves rank fourth nationally in rushing offense with 326.9 yards per game. Four straight games the Pack have rushed for more than 300 yards, and now twice in the row they have gone over 400 yards, which included 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 11th most by a team this season in NCAA Division II, while the seven rushing scores against the Eagles is tied for the sixth most by a team this season.
• The Pack rank No. 29 nationally in sacks allowed per game (1.25), as the offensive line has allowed 10 sacks for a loss of 71 yards.
• CSU-Pueblo sits 26th in NCAA Division II with 472.6 yards per game.
• Senior Kieren Duncan is guiding the team in receptions (19) and reception yards (366). He has three touchdowns and is averaging 19.3 yards per catch. Tight end Zach Boyd owns 358 yards on 15 receptions, with a team-best four touchdowns and 23.9 yards per catch average.
• The ThunderWolves are 20th in NCAA Division II in passing yards per completion with 14.76.
• 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 29th nationally, while the three defensive touchdowns sits 14th 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 eighth nationally in scoring defense, as it has allowed 15.3 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 eight contests in 2015. The Pack have totalled 27 sacks this season to rank 13th in NCAA Division II for most sacks and for 3.25 sacks per game. CSU-Pueblo is 13th in tackles for loss per game (8.8 tflpg, - 320 yards).
• Defensive end Morgan Fox has 11 sacks this season, which ranks first in NCAA Division II for sacks per game (1.83). 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.
• Fox also appears in the top 10 nationally in tackles for loss with 14, as his tackles for loss per game (2.3) is fourth. The -97 lost yards is tied for third.
• 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 69.3 rushing yards per game to sit third 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 tied for the third longest in NCAA Division II so far this season and has helped the ThunderWolves sit tops nationally in kickoff returns (30.57 yards per return).
• Duncan ranks ninth nationally in punt returns with 15.7 yards per return, while he is 40th nationally in combined kick returns (467 yards).
• Greg O'Donnell is 6-of-8 on field goal attempts (75% is 27th nationally) and has converted on 43-of-44 extra point attempts.
• O'Donnell is the program's scoring leader with 388 points. His 56 field goals is also a program record, set with a 31-yarder 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 48th 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.
- 30 –
As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics.