PUEBLO, Colo. (September 17, 2016) - The Colorado State University-Pueblo football team flushed the first two weeks with a decisive 37-10 victory against newly joined member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl Saturday.
The ThunderWolves (1-2, 1-1 RMAC) defense returned to old form and shutout the visiting Hardrockers for 41:40 of game time and posted an 85-yard interception return for a score. The Pack limited the South Dakota Mines' running game to 74 yards and Emery Taylor (R-Fr., Aurora, Colo.) brought in two interceptions after the team didn't pick an opposing quarterback in the first two contests.
Senior Ryan Merrill (Scottsdale, Ariz.) moved into a starting role and totaled a team-best nine tackles (three solo) with 1.5 tackles for loss (-5 yards) and a sack (-3 yards). Inside linebacker Brandon Payer added eight tackles (four solo), while Taylor, in his first career start, totaled six tackles (three solo) with two picks and a touchdown.
The Pack offense moved the ball efficiently under new starting quarterback Rex Dausin (San Antonio, Texas) and without junior running back Bernard McDondle (Littleton, Colo.). The ThunderWolves went 9-for-14 on third down, a 64.3 percentage, while in the first two games they posted a combined 33.3 percentage. The Pack totaled 23 first downs and compiled 400 yards of offense.
The running game was by committee with McDondle out with an injury, as the Pack totaled 195 yards on the ground with Austin Micci (Colorado Springs, Colo.) leading the way with 73 yards and a score. Junior David Cardinal, Jr. (Denver, Colo.) added 48 yards and senior Fradlet Dort (Lake Worth, Fla.) contributed 38 yards and a score for the second straight week.
Dausin threw for 205 yards and a touchdown on 16-for-21 (76.2%) passing.
Freshman Nathan Taylor (Phoenix, Ariz.) knocked through a 40-yard field goal on the Pack's first possession of the game to give the home team a 3-0 lead that held through the first frame.
The Taylor pick six moved the score to 9-0 early in the second quarter as the Pack failed a two-point conversion. The other Taylor pick came later in the quarter and set up the offense on the SDSM&T 22-yard-line. Five plays later, Micci found the end zone from 12 yards out and the ThunderWolves led 16-0 at the half.
The defining moment of the game came on the opening possession of the second half. After senior Daniel Wise (Arlington, Texas) returned the kickoff 34 yards, the ThunderWolves orchestrated a 14-play, 64-yard drive to the end zone paint that totaled 8:12 of time. The score made it 23-0 midway through the frame.
The visitor got on the board with a 47-yard field goal late in the third to move the score to 23-3, but the Pack responded in the fourth with two touchdown drives of 60 yards or more to put the game out of reach at 37-3. Dausin recorded a one-yard rushing touchdown to cap a 12-play, 83-yard drive, then connected through the air with junior Osha Washington (Stockton, Calif.) for a 31-yard touchdown strike.
South Dakota Mines scored with 3:09 left to move the score to 37-10, which proved to be the final score.
Next for the ThunderWolves is a third straight home game, set for Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. versus RMAC foe, New Mexico Highlands University.
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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.