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CSU-Pueblo battles Minnesota State for national title

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Just a few years after reinstating the football program at Colorado State University-Pueblo, the ThunderWolves are heading to the NCAA Division II National Championship. The game will be held Saturday in Kansas City.

Photo by Dustin Cox
Photo by Dustin Cox

The team has won eight straight games, earning a spot in the national championship game with a 10-7 victory over West Georgia last week. The game turned out to be a defensive battle, and the Pack spent a good portion of the game trailing, but with one field goal and one touchdown, they held on for the victory.

The ThunderWolves own a 4-3 record in NCAA playoff games, all of which have taken place at home. Since 2011, CSU-Pueblo is 10-3 against ranked opponents in Division II, and 5-0 against the nation’s top 25 this season.

The Minnesota State Mavericks finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in both the AFCA and D2Football.com national polls. MSU is 14-0 overall, sharing the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference title with Minnesota Duluth. The Mavericks began the NCAA Division II playoff games as the No. 2 seed for Super Region Three.

The Mavericks rank seventh in the nation in scoring offense with an average of 42.9 points per game, and the ThunderWolves averaged more than 35.

MSU has scored 39 rushing touchdowns and 33 passing touchdowns this season, averaging 459.9 yards per game. CSU-Pueblo scored 30 passing and 22 rushing touchdowns this season and averaged 406.6 offensive yards per game.

On the defense, the Mavericks are comparable to the ThunderWolves. MSU has the best scoring defense in the nation, allowing just 12.9 points per game. The ThunderWolves have allowed an average of 13.7.

Along with CSU-Pueblo, Minnesota State is making its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division II National Championship game. MSU has reached the playoffs in five of the last seven seasons and owns a 6-3 record during that span.

The two teams will meet for the first time Saturday at Sporting Park, located in Kansas City, Kansas. The game will also be televised on ESPN 2 beginning at 2 p.m. Mountain time.

Hundreds of students, alumni and fans are heading to Kansas City to support the ThunderWolves and help them bring the national title home to CSU-Pueblo.

More information on the game is available at www.gothunderwolves.com.