Pack football battles Black Hills State in road contest Saturday

Pack football battles Black Hills State in road contest Saturday

PUEBLO, Colo. (October 20, 2016) - The Colorado State University-Pueblo football team will take to the road for the third time in October to battle Black Hills State University Saturday, Oct. 22 in Spearfish, South Dakota. The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference contest is set to begin at 1 p.m.

LIVE STATS
LIVE VIDEO
LIVE AUDIO (1350 Fox Sports Pueblo)

CSU-PUEBLO (4-3. 4-2 RMAC) GAME NOTES
BLACK HILLS STATE (5-2, 5-2 RMAC) GAME NOTES

SCOUTING THE PACK
• The Pack scored 26 unanswered points, capped by a safety, to post a 33-12 Homecoming victory against Fort Lewis
• The ThunderWolves allowed a first drive score by their opponent for the second straight week (both wins).
• CSU-Pueblo has won all nine Homecoming games since restarting the program in 2008 and are 4-0 against Fort Lewis during that run.
• The Pack only produced two more yards of offense (330-328) against the Skyhawks, but capitalized on a +2 turnover margin and being issued just one penalty to FLC's eight.
• The ThunderWolves totaled 179 yards passing and 151 yards on the ground, as quarterback Rex Dausin went 12-for-24 with a career-high three touchdowns and one interception.
• Senior Daniel Wise compiled 180 all-purpose yards with 87 yards on punt returns, 68 kick return yards and 18 reception yards. He scored a touchdown on one of his two receptions. Wise was named RMAC Special Teams Player of the Week.
• The dominated defensive effort was guided by the inside linebackers, as sophomore Brandon Payer finished with 14 tackles (five solo), a tackle for loss (-1 yard), a forced fumble and his first interception of the season. He was named RMAC Defensive Player of the Week.
• His partner in crime was senior Samuel Singleton, who totaled 10 tackles (team-high six solo) with 1.5 tackles for loss (-2 yards).
• The Pack combined for a season-high four sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles (one recovered) and 11 tackles for loss, which backed up the FLC offense 31 yards.

SCOUTING BLACK HILLS STATE
• The Yellow Jackets are coming off a 27-0 loss at Western State last weekend. They stand at 5-2 overall and in conference play to rank in a tie for first in the conference standings.
BHSU tallied a season-low 268 yards of total offense and just 101 yards rushing, well below the season average of 213.7 yards.
• Black Hills State is 3-0 on its home turf in 2016 including wins over Dixie State, New Mexico Highlands and then No. 13 Colorado Mesa.
• Black Hills State has set a new standard for wins in a single season during its NCAA era and have five wins for the first time since 2010.
• BHSU ranks first in the RMAC and third in the NCAA Division II with a 1.71 turnover margin.
• The Yellow Jackets own 17 interceptions this season to rank first in NCAA Division II. Drew Hebel leads the nation with six interceptions.
• QB Ryan Hommel averages 231.7 yards per game through the air and has 10 touchdowns with seven interceptions.
• RB Phydell Paris owns 813 rushing yards (135.5 ypg) with seven touchdowns and zero fumbles lost.
• LB Travis Groves leads the team with 49 tackles (19 solo) and six breakups.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS BHSU
• The ThunderWolves lead the short all-time series with Black Hills State 4-0.
• The Pack own a 187-47 (46.8-11.8) scoring advantage in the four games and haven't scored less than 42 points in a contest.
• Last season, CSU-Pueblo totaled 459 yards of offense and allowed just 210 in a road meeting with the Yellow Jackets. The Pack defense had four takeaways in the game.

THE POLLS
• CSU-Pueblo was No. 5 in both the AFCA and D2Football.com final 2015 polls. The Pack began the new year with the No. 5 ranking in the AFCA poll and No. 4 by D2Football.com, but after consecutive losses to start the season, The ThunderWolves dropped out of both top 25's.
• 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)

TEAM NOTES
• Since reinstating the program in 2008, the ThunderWolves are 44-11 (.800) at the ThunderBowl.
• CSU-Pueblo owns a 15-6 (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. CSU-Pueblo has five scores of 40 yards or more this season:
    • Bernard McDondle with 71-yard run at Colorado Mines (Sept. 1)
    • Emery Taylor returned an interception 85 yards for a touchdown against South Dakota Mines (Sept. 17).
    • McDondle recorded 43 and 80 yard rushing touchdowns at Adams State, while Daniel Wise was on the receiving end of a 43 yard touchdown from a Rex Dausin pass vs ASU.
• 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 retaken the quarter and are leading their opponents 77-46 in the second.
• The ThunderWolves are winning the opening quarter 55-18 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. This season the Pack have six drives of 80 or more yards.
• 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.
• The Pack rank No. 16 nationally in fewest penalties with 36 and are 15th in fewest penalties yards per game at 5.14.
• Twice the ThunderWolves have lost this season after totaling 200 or more rushing yards. Those losses are the only two since 2008, as the Pack own a 45-2 record in that time span.
• The Pack have a 64-7 record since 2008 when scoring first, but have lost twice in 2016 when placing the first points on the board.
• Head Coach John Wristen celebrated his 100th game as a head coach Sept. 10. He is currently the winninest head coach in program history (84-21, .800 and is nearing the program record of 85 wins, held by Joe Prater (1956-73).

CSU-PUEBLO POSITION NOTABLES
OFFENSE
Bernard McDondle sits 20th nationally and ranks fourth in the RMAC in rushing yards with 759. After leading NCAA Division II last season in rushing yards per carry, McDondle owns 8.9 yards per attempt in 2016 (doesn't qualify for national stats due to games played).
• 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 12 100-plus yard games in his career (four games this season), which includes a career-high 247 yards at Adams State (Oct. 8, 2016).
• The ThunderWolves totaled eight rushing touchdowns against New Mexico Highlands to match the output of the Pack versus NMHU in 2010, as the most since the restart of the program.
• The Pack rank 24th in NCAA Division II in rushing with 217.4 yards per game. They are fourth in the league.
• 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 24-for-28 (85.7%) this season to sit second in the RMAC and 34th in Division II.
• Junior Rex Dausin earned his first start Sept. 17 and threw 16-for-21, a 63.3 completion percentage. This season his 61.6 percentage is 41st nationally and fourth in the RMAC.
The ThunderWolves sit 20th nationally in least tackles for loss allowed with 4.57 per game.
• With 33.9 points per game, the Pack are fourth in the RMAC.

DEFENSE
• 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 12 turnovers this season (nine interceptions, three fumble recoveries) and turned them into 46 points.
• The ThunderWolves had a pick six in back-to-back games (Sept. 17 and 24) and have three this season (Oct. 8). Since 2008, the Pack have totaled 27 interception returns for a touchdown. The most in a season is five by the 2014 and 2010 squads. The Pack are 11th in NCAA Division II in defensive TD's.
• Both LaRon Tarkington and Darius Williams has returned an interception for a score in back-to-back seasons.
• 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 19 more occasions. The ThunderWolves held Adams State (Oct. 8) to just 15 yards this season.
• 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 again leads the league and sits sixth nationally this season after allowing 84.9 yards on the ground.
• The Pack lead the conference in total defense, as they have allowed 346.1 yards per game. The scoring defense is second best in the RMAC with 20.4 points allowed per game, which is 31st nationally.
• Inside linebacker Brandon Payer ranks tied for fifth in the conference in tackles with 59 (29 solo). His 7.0 tackles for loss (-14 yards) is tied for fifth, while his two forced fumbles is tied for third in the league.
• Outside linebacker Ryan Merrill's 49 tackles (23 solo) is tied for 14th and his 7.0 tackles for loss (-16 yards) is also tied for fifth.
• Tarkington has eight passes defended (two interceptions) to rank tied for third in the conference.

SPECIAL TEAMS   
Daniel Wise is sixth nationally and second in the RMAC in punt returns with 19.3 yard per game. He leads the RMAC and ranks 18th in kickoff returns with 28.6 yards per return. • His 508 combined return yards is fourth in the league and 20th in NCAA Division II.
CSU-Pueblo ranks first in the RMAC in kickoff returns with 24.3 yards per return, which is 26th nationally.
• The ThunderWolves have the third most yards per punt return in the RMAC with 18.8 yards, which also ranks 10th nationally.
• The Pack ranks tied for 32nd nationally with three blocked kicks, but have also allowed two to be blocked.  
• Freshman kicker Nathan Taylor is second in the conference in field goals per game (1.0) and third in field goal percentage (7-for-11, 63.6%).

#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) signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Los Angeles Rams and Sept. 4, earned a spot on the practice squad and then was promoted to the active roster Oct. 8. He played his first NFL snap Oct. 9. 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 three 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. Wide receiver Kieren Duncan (2012-15) signed onto the practice squad with Winnipeg Sept. 27. Finally, Paul Browning (2010-14) finished his first season in the Arena Football League (AFL) in July with the Orlando Predators.

VS. RANKED SQUADS: CSU-Pueblo owns a 15-6 (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.

Oct. 1, 2016 - L, 20-19 - (17) at Colorado Mesa    
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

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.