Pack battle Mountaineers in final road test of 2016

PUEBLO, Colo. (October 28, 2016) - The Colorado State University-Pueblo football team heads to Western State Colorado University Oct. 29 for the final road contest of the 2016 regular season. The Pack and Mountaineers meet in a 1 p.m. kickoff for an opportunity keep Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title hopes alive, as both teams enter with two conference losses.

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LIVE AUDIO (1350 Fox Sports Pueblo)

CSU-PUEBLO (5-3. 5-2 RMAC) GAME NOTES
WESTERN STATE (6-2, 6-2 RMAC) GAME NOTES

SCOUTING THE PACK
• Quarterback Rex Dausin threw for a program record six touchdowns and the defense allowed just 35 rushing yards in the 49-14 RMAC road win at Black Hills State Saturday.
• Dausin threw a touchdown on six of his 19 attempts, as he went 14-for-19 (73.7%) for 169 yards. His long throw went for a 43-yard score. He surpassed the previous program record of five passing touchdowns set by his older brother, Ross, in 2012 and Chris Bonner in 2013.
• The ThunderWolves (5-3, 5-2 RMAC) allowed just 35 yards on the ground to a Yellow Jackets (5-3, 5-3 RMAC) team averaging 213.7 rushing yards per game. CSU-Pueblo now ranks third nationally in rushing defense (79 yards).
• The Pack also produced two turnovers and didn't give one up to the RMAC-leading (third nationally) BHSU, who entered with a +12 turnover margin.
• CSU-Pueblo posted a 456-204 margin in total yards, with 275 yards coming on the ground. After the performance, the Pack moved up to 23rd nationally in rushing yards (224.6).
• The Pack had two backs post more than 100 yards, as senior Fradlet Dort rushed 12 times for 106 yards (8.8 ypc), while redshirt-freshman Austin Micci carried the ball 22 times for 102 yards and a touchdown.
• The Pack got their first 100 yard receiver in a game since Oct. 3 of last season, as senior Daniel Wise totaled 104 yards on six receptions with two touchdowns.
• The defense was guided by redshirt-freshman Kyle Rosenbrock, who totaled 10 tackles (three solo) with 2.5 tackles for loss (-9 yards) and a forced fumble. For his efforts, he became the fifth member of the Pack to earn RMAC Player off the Week honors in 2016.

SCOUTING WESTERN STATE
• Western State (6-2, 6-2 RMAC) has won three straight, which includes back-to-back shutouts of Black Hills State (27-0) and New Mexico Highlands (56-0).
• The Mountaineers have secured a winning record for the first time in 14 years.
WSCU leads the conference and ranks seventh nationally with 274.9 rushing yards per game.
• The run game is driven by Austin Ekeler, who leads NCAA Division II with 1,400 yards and 175.0 yards per game. He is second in all-purpose yards (205.1 ypg), fourth in rushing touchdowns (15) and 11th in rushing yards per carry (6.9 ypc).
• The Mountaineer defense ranks first in the RMAC and 16th nationally in scoring defense, as they are allowing just 17.4 points per game. They also rank first in the league in red zone defense (58.3% scores allowed) and second in total defense (336.6 ypg).
• The leaders of the defense are twins Cade and Carter Wasser. Linebacker Carter owns 57 tackles, while defensive back Cade has totaled 54.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS WSCU
• The ThunderWolves lead the all-time series with Western State 14-9 and have won all eight meetings since 2008 and 10 of the last 11.
• The Pack are 6-5 on the road against the Mountaineers. CSU-Pueblo needed a last minute score in the last meeting in Gunnison in 2014.
• In the last season's game in Pueblo, the ThunderWolves came away with a 20-10 victory. The Pack led 13-0 at the half.
• CSU-Pueblo rushed for 295 yards in that game and held Austin Ekeler to 86 yards on the ground.

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 98-60 in the second.
• The ThunderWolves are winning the opening quarter 69-18 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 seven drives of 80 or more yards.
• 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 65-7 record since 2008 when scoring first, but have lost twice in 2016 when placing the first points on the board.
• Head Coach John Wristen is currently the winninest head coach in program history (83-20, .806 and is nearing the program record of 85 wins, held by Joe Prater (1956-73).

CSU-PUEBLO POSITION NOTABLES
OFFENSE
• Bernard McDondle is out for the season due to injury after compiling 759 rushing yards. After leading NCAA Division II last season in rushing yards per carry, McDondle recorded 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 23rd in NCAA Division II in rushing with 224.6 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 30-for-34 (88.2%) this season to sit second in the RMAC and 20th 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 62.9 percentage is 33rd nationally and fourth in the RMAC. He ranks sixth in passing efficiency with a 145.4 mark.
• The ThunderWolves sit 14th nationally in least tackles for loss allowed with 4.38 per game.
With 35.8 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 14 turnovers this season (10 interceptions, four fumble recoveries) and turned them into 53 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 15th in NCAA Division II in defensive TD's.
• Both LaRon Tarkington and Darius Williams have 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 20 more occasions. The ThunderWolves held Adams State (Oct. 8) to just 15 yards this season and Black Hills State (Oct. 22) to only 35 yards.
• 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 third nationally this season after allowing 79.0 yards on the ground.
• The Pack lead the conference in total defense (36th nationally), as they have allowed 328.4 yards per game. The scoring defense is second best in the RMAC with 19.6 points allowed per game, which is 29th nationally.
• Inside linebacker Brandon Payer ranks seventh in the conference in tackles with 65 (31 solo). His 7.0 tackles for loss (-14 yards) is tied for 10th, while his two forced fumbles is tied for fourth in the league.
• Outside linebacker Ryan Merrill's 52 tackles (24 solo) is tied for 18th and his 7.0 tackles for loss (-16 yards) is also tied for 10th.
• Tarkington and Williams each have eight passes defended to rank tied for sixth in the conference.
• Emery Taylor's three interceptions ranks tied for fourth most.

SPECIAL TEAMS   
• Daniel Wise is 11th nationally and second in the RMAC in punt returns with 11.1 yards per game. He leads the RMAC and ranks 23rd in kickoff returns with 28.6 yards per return. His 542 combined return yards is fourth in the league and 28th in NCAA Division II.
• Wise owns 876 all-purpose yards to sit ninth in the RMAC.
• CSU-Pueblo ranks second in the RMAC in kickoff returns with 22.2 yards per return, while the kick retutn defense is fourth after allowing 18.6 yards per return.
• The ThunderWolves have the third most yards per punt return in the RMAC with 14.7 yards, which also ranks 17th nationally.
• The Pack ranks tied for first in the RMAC with three blocked kicks, two of them were punts, which ranks them tied for first in the league and 13th nationally.  
• 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%). His 54 points in sixth in the conference and second among the league's kickers.

#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 and earned a spot on the practice squad to start the 2016 season. He was promoted to the active roster Oct. 8 and played his first NFL snap Oct. 9 before being sent back to the practice squad Oct. 11. 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.