Pack fall in quarterfinals to Grand Valley State

PUEBLO, Colo. (December 5, 2015) – No. 4 Colorado State University-Pueblo suffered a 31-7 loss to No. 12 Grand Valley State University Saturday, in a NCAA Division II Quarterfinal game at the Neta & Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl.

With the loss, CSU-Pueblo (12-2) was eliminated from the playoffs, while the Lakers (12-2) advanced to the semifinals to face Shepherd University.

Cameron McDondle (Sr., RB, Littleton, Colo.) tallied a team-high 106 yards on the ground on 19 carries. With the total, the Harlon Hill Trophy finalist finished the season with 2,235 yards and 24 touchdowns, as he averaged 7.4 yards per carry on 303 carries. McDondle finished his career with program records in  rushing yards (5,951) and rushing touchdowns (56).

He combined this season with brother Bernard McDondle (So., RB, Littleton, Colo.) for an NCAA Division II Record for most rushing yards by two players, same team in a season with 3,674 yards. The previous record (3,611 yards) was held by two backs from Pittsburg State in 2004.

The Gene Upshaw Award runner-up Morgan Fox (Sr., DE, Fountain, Colo.) finished the contest with seven tackles, a sack and 2.5 tackles for a loss. Fox ends his ThunderWolves' final season with a single-season program best, 17 sacks, while his 36 career sacks is also a program record.

Redshirt-freshman Brandon Payer (LB, Pine, Colo.) notched a team-best 10 total tackles, six of them were solo.

Game Changer: First-half

In the first half the Pack allowed 31 points to the Lakers, while they only pilled seven points in the stanza. The mark is the most points the ThunderWolves have allowed since the rebirth of the football program. The previous high was achieved by University of Nebraska-Kearney in 2008 (the first year back), when they scored 28 in the first half Oct. 4. The Pack hadn't faced a 21-point deficit since the NCAA Quarterfinal game against West Texas A&M University in 2012.

The Rundown

The Lakers wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, as they connected on the first offensive play from scrimmage, when GVSU's quarterback Bart Williams hit wide receiver Matt Williams in stride for 65 yards to take an early 7-0 advantage over the ThunderWolves.

From there, Grand Valley State used strong defense and the advantage of the wind that created good field position to go up 21-0 in the first frame. First, running back Marty Carter scampered in from 19 yards out, then shortly later, Kirk Spencer finished off a short-field situation for the Lakers from seven yards away to go up 21-0 with 6:48 remaining in the first period.

CSU-Pueblo broke the drought when they marched down the field 75 yards on nine plays to earn their first touchdown of the afternoon. AJ Thompson (R-Fr., QB, Denver, Colo.) finished off the drive with a five-yard pass to Patrick O'Malley (So., FB, Denver, Colo.) to cut the Packs' deficit to 21-7 with 1:51 to go in the first frame.

Grand Valley State finished the first half by adding 10 points in the second quarter to end the half with a 31-7 advantage going into intermission.

Both squads went scoreless in the final half to end the game 31-7.

Pack Points

  • The loss snaps the Pack's 10-game winning streak against top 25 ranked opponents, and it also snaps their 10-game winning streak.
  • Seven points is the fewest points scored by the ThunderWolves since a 31-7 loss to Colorado School of Mines Sept. 26 2009.
  • 157 yards of total offense is the fewest yards tallied by CSU-Pueblo this season.
  • Grand Valley State improves to 2-0 in the post season at CSU-Pueblo.
  • Kevin Cuff (Sr., LB, San Diego, Calif.) finished the year as the Pack's leading tackler with 74.
  • Safety Joseph Jones (Jr., Fountain, Colo.) led the revamped secondary with four takeaways.
  • ThunderWolves finish the year with 11-or more wins for the fifth straight season and 12 or more for the third time.
  • In five NCAA Division II Playoff appearances, the Pack are 7-4 overall. Three times the ThunderWolves have appeared in the quarterfinals (losses in 2012 and 2015).

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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.