INDIANAPOLIS (June 23, 2016) – The Colorado State University-Pueblo football team will be featured on ESPN3 and WatchESPN Sept. 1 when the Pack opens the 2016 regular season at Colorado School of Mines, announced today by NCAA Division II. The contest will kickoff the 22-game schedule of the 2016 Division II Football Showcase, which features games weekly on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the American Sports Network (ASN).
The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference opener will mark the third time that the Pack will be featured on an ESPN network in the last three years. CSU-Pueblo is 2-0 in games aired on ESPN, as the Pack won their first game on the mothership Dec. 13, 2014 when they knocked off University of West Georgia 10-7 at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl on ESPN3 to advance to the 2014 Division II Nation Championship game.
One week later, the Pack beat Minnesota State University, Mankato 13-0 to win their first NCAA Division II National Championship. This crowning moment aired live on ESPN2.
Last season, the ThunderWolves were featured in the NCAA's TV lineup with their home opener against Central Washington University appearing on ASN. The Pack won 41-14.
This year marks the second consecutive season that both the Pack and the Orediggers will be ranked heading into their encounter. Preseason rankings from both Sporting News and Lindy's has the teams ranked in the top 25.
Last season, CSU-Pueblo held the No. 6 spot and Mines stood No. 7 when they played Oct. 24 at the ThunderBowl. The ThunderWolves won that game 49-21.
The Pack's season opener in at Marv Kay Stadium in Golden, Colo. begins at 7 p.m. CSU-Pueblo will host its home opener Sept. 10 when the ThunderWolves face West Texas A&M University at 6 p.m. in a RED OUT at the ThunderBowl.
ABOUT ESPN3 AND WatchESPN
ESPN3 is ESPN's live multiscreen sports network, a destination that delivers thousands of exclusive sports events annually. It is accessible on computers, smartphones, tablets and connected devices through WatchESPN. The network is currently available nationwide at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider. It is also available at no cost to U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers, smartphones and tablets connected to on-campus educational and on-base military broadband and Wi-Fi networks.
ABOUT THE NCAA DII FOOTBALL SHOWCASE
"This second year, with an expanded broadcast schedule, continues to give Division II student-athletes a chance to play in front of a national audience," said Terri Steeb Gronau, vice president of Division II. "Division II student-athletes balance community engagement and strong academics with their athletics, and this national platform gives the division the opportunity to highlight the successes of these student-athletes on and off the field."
Of the 22-game slate, 18 games have been predetermined. An additional four flex games (two per network) will be finalized later in the football season and played Nov. 5 and 12. The flex games are expected to highlight premier and pivotal matchups.
However, fans won't need to wait long to watch exciting Division II football. The 36 teams highlighted in the current 2016 TV schedule combined for 272 wins and just 121 losses (a .692 winning percentage) last season. Of those teams, 17 appeared in the Division II playoffs, and 14 finished the 2015 season ranked in the top 25 of the American Football Coaches Association Division II poll. All 18 games currently scheduled feature in-conference matchups.
THE THUNDERWOLVES IN 2015
The ThunderWolves went 12-2 overall for their third 12-plus win season in the last four years. The Pack went a perfect 9-0 for the fourth time in the last five years to earn their fifth consecutive RMAC Championship.
CSU-Pueblo earned the No. 4 seed in the NCAA Playoffs and made its fifth straight appearance in the Division II postseason Nov. 21. The ThunderWolves hosted No. 5-seed University of Indianapolis in the first round and won 27-14, then took to the road for their first-ever true road game in the playoffs. The Pack traveled to No. 1-seed Midwestern State University and downed the Mustangs 26-17 to earn a spot in the quarterfinals for the third time in the last four years. CSU-Pueblo suffered a 31-7 loss to No. 6-seed Grand Valley State University in the game at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl, to close the season and end the defense of the 2014 NCAA Division II National Championship.
The ThunderWolves finished fifth in both the American Football Coaches Association and D2Football.com national polls.
Season tickets for the 2016 season are on sale NOW.
For more information, click HERE.
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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.