No. 20 ThunderWolves fall to No. 1 Mavericks, 16-13, in overtime

No. 20 ThunderWolves fall to No. 1 Mavericks, 16-13, in overtime

MANKATO, Minn. (November 18, 2017) - The No. 20 Colorado State University-Pueblo football team suffered a 16-13 overtime loss to No. 1 Minnesota State University, Mankato Saturday in Round 1 of the NCAA Division II Playoffs.

The ThunderWolves (9-3) entered into their first overtime period since 2012 thanks to a 27-yard field goal by redshirt-freshman Mitchell Carter (Colorado Springs, Colo.) that tied the game with 1:48 remaining in regulation.

CSU-Pueblo won the toss and elected to play defense, while the Mavericks (12-0) chose to go into the stiff wind that had been blowing all day. The Pack only allowed five yards and Minnesota State had to attempt the 37 yarder, which was good just inside the right upright. The ThunderWolves then only gained two yards and were forced to attempt a 40-yard field goal, which was just right.

Carter connected with a 45-yard field goal with 3:01 in the first quarter to get the scoring started, then a Tanner Draper (S, Amarillo, Texas) interception help set up a four-play, 18-yard drive to the end zone in the early goings of the second quarter. Sophomore Austin Micci (RB, Colorado Springs, Colo.) capped the drive with a seven-yard rush to the paint.

It was 10-3 at the half, as MSU converted on a 29-yarder with 21 ticks remaining in the half.

MSU would end up scoring 13 straight points, as they finished off an eight-play, 37-yard drive with three points on their first possession of the second half. The Mavericks' first touchdown of the game, and against CSU-Pueblo in the two meetings, came with 13:03 remaining in regulation to hand the home team a 13-10 lead.

Carter's 27-yarder finished off a seven-play, 18-yard drive.

CSU-Pueblo totaled four turnovers, including two interceptions by Draper to move the team's 2017 interceptions number to 23. The Mavericks totaled 254 yards of offense and rushed for 156. MSU came into the game averaging 42 points, 481.5 yards and 291.7 rushing yards per game. The Pack tied a season high with four sacks (-22 yards) and compiled 11 tackles for loss (-31 yards).

Sophomore Kyle Rosenbrock (ILB, Brush, Colo.) had a career game with 11 tackles (seven solo) with 3.5 tackles for loss (-22 yards), 2.5 sacks (-19 yards) and a forced fumble. Senior Josh Croy (DE, Littleton, Colo.) left it all on the field and led the team with 12 tackles (five solo) with a half tackle for loss. Junior Brandon Payer (ILB, Pine, Colo.) gathered 11 tackles (five solo) and finished the year with 110 tackles (a program record 70 solo).

Both defenses showed up, as Minnesota State held the Pack to 149 total yards with 78 coming on the ground. The ThunderWolves could only muster five first downs (one in the first half).

Junior running back Marché Dennard (Phoenix, Ariz.) rushed 19 times for 57 yards, while Micci had 10 carries with 23 yards and the score.  

Junior Brandon Edwards (Bothell, Wash.) came into the game for the fourth drive and went 10-for-18 (55.6%) with 64 yards. Senior Osha Washington (Stockton, Calif.) was the top target with five receptions for 19 yards.

The last overtime game for the Pack was Oct. 6, 2012 at home against Chadron State College. The Pack won that homecoming game 45-38.

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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.