PUEBLO, Colo. (November 4, 2016) - The Colorado State University-Pueblo football team concludes the regular season with two home games, starting with Dixie State University Saturday, Nov. 5. The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference contest is set for a 2 p.m. kickoff at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl.
Food Drive: The CSU-Pueblo Pack Pantry will be collecting non-perishable food at the gates for both the Nov. 5 and Nov. 12 games. The first 1,000 donations will recieve a Pack Athletics sticker.
SCOUTING THE PACK
• The Pack entered their road game with Western State with both teams having two losses, but it was the ThunderWolves who came out with a 10-7 road win behind a strong defensive effort.
• The Pack (6-3, 6-2 RMAC) allowed just 66 second half yards to the Mountaineers (6-3, 6-3 RMAC) and 228 total, which was well below their 450.6 season average. The ThunderWolves entered the game allowing 79.0 yards per game on the ground (third nationally), while WSCU had been averaging 274.9 rushing yards per contest (seventh nationally). CSU-Pueblo held Western State to only 58 rushing yards and the contained the nation's leading rusher, Austin Ekeler, to a season-low 67 rushing yards.
• The Pack offense produced an even 300 yards (235 passing) and were an efficient 7-for-14 on third downs.
• Senior wide receiver Larry Clark brought in eight receptions for 108 yards and the lone touchdown, a 37-yard grab.
• The ThunderWolves have had a receiver surpass 100 yards in back-to-back games for the first time since Sept. 26 and Oct. 3 of last season.
• Junior quarterback Rex Dausin went 21-for-32 (65.6%) for 235 yards and zero interceptions. Both his completions and yards were career-highs in a Pack uniform.
• Sophomore Brandon Payer guided the defense with 12 tackles (two solo), 1.5 tackles for loss (-3 yards) and two pass break-ups. He was named RMAC Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season.
• The Pack have touted the league's defensive player of the week for three straight weeks and four times this season. Five players have combined for six awards in 2016.
• The Pack defense totaled three sacks (-22 yards), which included one to force a fourth-and-17 on WSCU's final drive of the game.
SCOUTING DIXIE STATE
• The Trailblazers used a last-second field goal to defeat Adams State, 24-21, last week and improve to 5-4 overall with a 5-3 RMAC record.
• Located in St. Charles, Utah, Dixie State is new to the RMAC this season in only football, but in October the institution was granted full membership to the RMAC starting in 2018-19.
DSU owns a school record in wins (5) in the NCAA Division II era (entered in 2006). Three of those wins on the road, which includes a 38-31 victory at CMU.
• The offense is guided by the run game, which averages 229.9 yards per game (5th in RMAC). DSU has two backs with 650 or more yards this season in Clifford Simms (132 - 759 - 7 TDs) and DeJon Coleman (106 - 657 - 5 TDs).
• The Trailblazers rank fifth in the RMAC in total defense (410.8 yds allowed) and fourth in passing defense (219.9 yds allowed).
• Safety Colton Olson leads the team in tackles with 61 (42 solo) and adds three pass break-ups.
• Dixie State ranks second in the league in kickoff returns with 22.4 yards per return (1 TD).
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS DIXIE STATE
• Saturday's contest will be the first meeting between the ThunderWolves and Trailblazers.
• 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)
• 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,
• Daniel Wise and Rex Dausin connected for a 43-yard pass and catch score 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 in the opener Sept. 1. Since then, the Pack have allowed just 24 points in the second and are leading their opponents 105-60.
• The ThunderWolves are winning the opening quarter 69-25 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 eight 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. Three wins this season have come when the opponent has scored first.
• Head Coach John Wristen is currently the winninest head coach in program history (84-20, .808 and is nearing the program record of 85 wins, held by Joe Prater (1956-73).
CSU-PUEBLO POSITION NOTABLES
• Running back Bernard McDondle is out for the season due to an injury suffered Oct. 15 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.
• Even without their top back, the Pack rank 33rd in NCAA Division II in rushing with 206.9 yards per game. They are sixth 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 31-for-36 (86.1%) this season to sit second in the RMAC and 30th 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 63.4 percentage is 28th nationally and third in the RMAC. He ranks fifth in the league in passing efficiency with a 144.2 mark.
• The ThunderWolves sit 13th nationally in least tackles for loss allowed with 4.33 per game.
With 32.9 points per game, the Pack are fourth in the RMAC.
• 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.
• 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 2010 and 2014 squads. The Pack are 20th 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 second nationally this season after allowing 76.7 yards on the ground.
• The Pack lead the conference in total defense (25th nationally), as they have allowed 317.2 yards per game. The scoring defense is second best in the RMAC with 18.2 points allowed per game, which is 18th nationally.
• Inside linebacker Brandon Payer ranks tied for fifth in the conference in tackles with 77 (33 solo). His 8.5 tackles for loss (-17 yards) is tied for seventh, while his two forced fumbles is tied for fourth in the league.
• Outside linebacker Ryan Merrill's 61 tackles (25 solo) is tied for 17th and his 8.0 tackles for loss (-19 yards) is tied for ninth.
• Tarkington and Williams each have eight passes defended to rank tied for ninth in the conference.
• Emery Taylor's three interceptions ranks tied for fourth most in the league.
• Daniel Wise is 11th nationally and second in the RMAC in punt returns with 14.4 yards per game. He leads the RMAC and ranks 23rd in kickoff returns with 28.6 yards per return. His 560 combined return yards is fifth in the league and 37th in NCAA Division II.
• CSU-Pueblo ranks third in the RMAC in kickoff returns with 22.2 yards per return, while the kick return defense is third after allowing 18.5 yards per return.
• The ThunderWolves have the fourth most yards per punt return in the RMAC with 14.5 yards, which also ranks 18th 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 15th nationally.
• Freshman kicker Nathan Taylor is second in the conference in field goals per game (.89) and second in field goal percentage (8-for-12, 66.7%). His 58 points in 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.