ThunderWolves set to get back on track hosting South Dakota Mines

PUEBLO, Colo. (September 15, 2016) – The Colorado State University-Pueblo football team is set to host South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, Saturday, Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl. The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference battle will be the first all-time meeting between the two programs.

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• The ThunderWolves suffered back-to-back losses in a season for the first time since 2010, as the Pack suffered a 26-10 home loss to West Texas A&M.
• The Pack had recorded 28 consecutive regular season home victories, dating back to a 66-0 win against New Mexico Highlands Oct. 30, 2010.
• The loss also put the ThunderWolves at 0-2 for the first time since 1983 and just the sixth time in program history.
• Brandon Payer recorded a career-high 14 tackles (10 solo), three tackles for loss and forced a fumble in the loss to WT. His 21 tackles (12 solo) ranks third in the league.
• Bernard McDondle rushed for more than 100 yards for the second time this season with 139 yards. He is sixth nationally in rushing yards (289 yards) and rushing yards per game (144.5 ypg).

• The Hardrockers used a 21-point third quarter to open a 24-21 lead headed to the fourth quarter at fellow RMAC newcomer, Dixie State. South Dakota Mines scored a touchdown early in the final frame to go up 31-21 and held on for a 31-27 victory.
• Dixie State outgained SDSM&T 475-410, as the Hardrockers won the ground battle 225-169, which included an 84-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
• The win guided the Hardrockers to a 2-0 record after they defeated William Jewell College 64-41 in week one.
• The Hardrockers are outscoring opponents 21-12 in the fourth quarter this season.
Kevin Thompson leads the team with 219 rushing yards and three scores, while starting quarterback, Jake Sullivan is second with 179 yards and two scores. Through the air, Sullivan is 37-for-54 (68.5%) for 443 yards and six scores (six different receivers) with just one interception. His favorite target is Macus Sanchez, who owns nine receptions for 144 yards.
• Defensively, SDSM&T are led by Triston Brown's 17 tackles (10 solo). David Jakpor has totalled 16 tackles (nine solo) with 1.5 (-3 yards) tackles for loss.

• The ThunderWolves and Hardrockers have never met.  
• The Pack are 5-0 against teams from South Dakota all-time (4-0 vs Black Hills State and 1-0 vs South Dakota-Springfield).

• CSU-Pueblo was No. 5 in both the AFCA and final 2015 polls. The Pack began the new year with the No. 5 ranking in the AFCA poll and No. 4 by, but after consecutive losses to start the season have dropped out of both top 25's. CSU-Pueblo is receiving votes in the AFCA poll.
• The Pack ranked in the AFCA top 25 for 66 consecutive polls ranging from Sept. 5, 2011 (21st) to Sept. 5, 2016 (19th).
• 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).

• CSU-Pueblo is the second winningest NCAA Division II football program of the decade (2010-16) with  a 69-10 (.873) record.
• Since reinstating the program in 2008, the ThunderWolves are 41-11 (.788) at the ThunderBowl.
CSU-Pueblo owns a 15-5 (10-4 at home) record versus ranked opponents (Division II) since 2011. That includes a 5-1 record against the nation's top 10. The Pack had won 10 straight against nationally-ranked opponents (6-0 in 2014 and 4-1 in 2015) before the playoff loss to Grand Valley State. 
• Big scoring plays were a signature of success last season for the Pack. Nineteen times the ThunderWolves posted a play of 45 yards or more for a score, which included a touchdown in all three areas of the game. Bernard McDondle continued that trend at Colorado Mines with a 71-yard run for a score.
• The defense allowed just 51 points (3.6 ppg) in the second frame in 14 games last season. Colorado Mines put up 36 in the second Sept. 1. The Pack have been outscored 46-0 in the second quarter this season.  
• CSU-Pueblo accumulated five scoring drives of 90 or more yards last season and 16 scoring drives overall of 80 yards or more. The Pack marched 95 yards on 10 plays for their first score of the contest against Colorado Mesa (Nov. 7, 2016).
• ThunderWolves played their 100th game since the re-start in 2008, Sept. 10. The Pack accumulated an impressive 80-20 (.800) record in those first 100 games.
• Head Coach John Wristen celebrated his 100th game as a head coach Sept. 10. He is currently the winninest head coach in program history (80-20, .800) and is nearing the program record of 85 wins, held by Joe Prater (1956-73).

• Bernard McDondle is sixth nationally in both rushing yards with 289 and rushing yards per game with 144.5. After leading NCAA Division II last season in rushing yards per carry, McDondle owns 8.26 yards per attempt to sit 11th in the nation.
• Last season he rushed for 1,439 yards to rank 10th nationally, while his 14 touchdowns sat 14th and the 110.7 yards per game finished 28th in Division II.
• McDondle owns 10 100-plus yard games in his career, which includes a career-high 207 yards at Chadron State (Oct. 17, 2015).
• Last season the Pack offense scored on 86.3 percent of their red zone chances to rank first in the league and 22nd nationally. The offense is 3-for-4 this season.

• The Pack have been one of the most stingiest and unforgiving defenses in the nation the past five seasons. Since 2011, the ThunderWolves have finished the season in the top 22 nationally in scoring defense, which includes leading the country in 2011 and 2014. CSU-Pueblo has also ranked in the top 21 in turnover ratio (or turnovers gained) with the nation's best mark in 2014.
• In 2015, the Pack defense created 31 turnovers (24 interceptions) to rank 11th in Division II and turned them into 99 points. The 24 interceptions finished third nationally, while the three defensive touchdowns sat 25th in NCAA Division II. CSU-Pueblo has gained just one turnover this season (fumble recovery) and owns a -7 turnover margin.
• The Pack recorded three or more sacks in nine of the 14 games in 2015, but have just one this season.
• 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 last season the Pack 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 allowed 94.6 rushing yards per game to sit 10th nationally in 2015. CSU-Pueblo ranks second in the league this season after allowing 107.5 yards on the ground in the first two games.

• The Pack ranked tied for seventh nationally with two blocked kicks, but have also allowed two to be blocked.  
• CSU-Pueblo ranks 18th nationally in kickoff returns with 28.7 yards per return. The kickoff defense is third in NCAA Division II after allowing 10.6 yards per return in the two games.
The ThunderWolves have the third most yards per punt return with 17 yards, which also ranks 21st nationally.
• Daniel Wise sits 37th nationally in kickoff returns with 28.7 yards per return.

VS. RANKED SQUADS: CSU-Pueblo owns a 15-5 (10-4 at home) record versus ranked opponents (Division II) since 2011. The ThunderWolves went 6-0 versus the nation's top 25 in 2014 and also added a 47-21 win against Sam Houston State (No. 15) to record the team's first-ever victory against a ranked FCS team. The Pack went 4-1 against ranked opponents in 2015 and had won 10 straight against the nation's best before the loss to Grand Valley State.
Sept. 1, 2016 - L, 57-21 - (18) at Colorado Mines    
Dec. 5, 2015 - L, 31-7 - (12) Grand Valley State #
Nov. 28, 2015 - W, 26-17 - at (9) Midwestern State !
Nov. 21, 2015 - W, 27-14 - (13) Indianapolis ^
Nov. 7, 2015 - W, 51-20 - (16) Colorado Mesa
Oct. 24, 2015 - W, 49-21 - (7) Colorado Mines
Dec. 20, 2014 - W, 13-0 - (1) Minnesota State %
Dec. 13, 2014 - W, 10-7 - (25) West Georgia $
Dec. 6, 2014 - W, 31-28 - (9) Ohio Dominican #
Nov. 29, 2014 - W, 52-14 - (23) Angelo State !
Oct. 25, 2014 - W, 20-12 - at (11) Colorado Mines
Sept. 4, 2014 - W, 35-6 - (11) West Texas A&M
Nov. 30, 2013 - L, 34-30 - (22) Grand Valley State !
Oct. 12, 2013 - W, 51-42 - at (21) Chadron State
Dec. 1, 2012 - L, 34-13 - (16) West Texas A&M #
Nov. 24, 2012 - W, 28-7 - (18) Indianapolis !
Aug. 30, 2012 - W, 44-34 - (24) West Texas A&M
Nov. 26, 2011 - L, 24-21 - (9) Minnesota Duluth !
Oct. 15, 2011 - W, 27-14 - at (4) Nebraska-Kearney
Sept. 1, 2011 - W, 26-24 - (19) West Texas A&M

^ - NCAA Division II First Round
! - NCAA Division II Second Round
# - NCAA Division II Quarterfinals
$ - NCAA Division II Semifinals
% - NCAA Division II Championship

#PACKPROS: CSU-Pueblo has three former players in the NFL. Ryan Jensen (2009-12) enters his fourth season with the Baltimore Ravens and Mike Pennel (2013) is in his third season with the Green Bay Packers. Morgan Fox (2012-15) earned an undrafted free agent contract with the Los Angeles Rams and Sept. 4, earned a spot on the practice squad for the season. Pennel played in 16 games (five starts) for the Packers last season. He totaled 25 tackles (nine solo) with a sack and forced fumble. Jensen played in 11 games (six starts) on the offensive line for the Ravens in 2015. The Pack also have two players in the Canadian Football League (CFL), as C.J. Roberts (2010-14) plays defensive back for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Darius Allen (2011-14) plays defensive line for the British Columbia Lions. Finally, Paul Browning (2010-14) finished his first season in the Arena Football League (AFL) in July with the Orlando Predators.

STREAKS: 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.
    The Pack recorded 28 consecutive regular season home victories from a 66-0 win against New Mexico Highlands Oct. 30, 2010 to a 51-20 win against Colorado Mesa Nov. 7, 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.