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Pack and Panthers to square off in quarterfinal battle Saturday

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graphic by Dustin Cox
graphic by Dustin Cox

The CSU-Pueblo ThunderWolves dominated Angelo State last weekend winning 52-14 and advanced to the NCAA Division II Quarterfinals for the second time in three years.

The ThunderWolves own a 8-3 record against ranked opponents overall since 2011. They are 3-0 versus the nation’s top 25 this season and also added a 47-21 win against 15th ranked Sam Houston State, recording the team’s first victory against a ranked FCS team.

CSU-Pueblo football has outscored their opponents 258 to 70 in the last six games. They averaged 43 points per game in this stretch.

During this same stretch, the Pack recorded a +11 turnover ratio, scored four defensive touchdowns and two punt return scores. CSU-Pueblo has scored 148 points and averaged 12.3 points per game off turnovers this season, while only allowing 44 points off giveaways, an average of 3.7 points per game.

In two straight games, the ThunderWolves posted scores in all three areas. Against New Mexico Highlands Nov. 15, the Pack scored five touchdowns on offense, returned an interception for a score and added a safety.

The squad also scored touchdowns in the three areas against Angelo State Nov. 29.

Currently, the ThunderWolves own a 2-3 record in NCAA playoff games, and all of the playoff games have occurred at home.

The Ohio Dominican Panthers are also a well-rounded team and should be an excellent challenge for the Pack.

The Panthers are 11-1 overall and posted a 9-1 record in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play. They rank No. 5 in Super Region Four and No. 9 in the AFCA poll, and they have won five straight games since falling at home to Ferris State University.

Ohio Dominican is playing it’s fourth straight road game for the first time in school history, but the Panthers have won 16 straight away from home, dating back to a 2012 loss at No. 4 Grand Valley State University. Ohio Dominican comes into Saturday’s game as the second ranked team in the nation in red zone offense.

Photo by Dustin Cox
Photo by Dustin Cox

This weekend will be a test of skill, determination and willpower.

Our ThunderWolves have posted three straight 11-0 seasons entering 2014, and became one of only two teams in NCAA Division II history to accomplish the feat. After starting 5-0 in 2014, CSU-Pueblo held 42 straight regular season victories, the second-longest in NCAA Division II history. They only trailed Grand Valley State, which posted 48 straight wins from 2004-2009. The Pack’s streak ended Oct. 11 in a 23-22 road loss at Fort Lewis.

The ThunderWolves take on Ohio Dominican Saturday at noon at the Neta & Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl.