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Pack and Rams are evenly matched for playoff game

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Photo by Dustin Cox
Photo by Dustin Cox

After earning a first-round bye in the NCAA Division II playoffs, the Colorado State-Pueblo ThunderWolves are preparing to face a familiar foe in Angelo State, a team they defeated 45-24 last year in the Lone Star Classic at Cowboys Stadium.

Entering Saturday’s game, Angelo State will be riding in on a six-game winning streak. Two of those wins came in the Lone Star Conference playoffs, and last week, in the first round of the Division II playoffs, they won 42-41 on the road against Michigan Tech.

Overall, ASU is 9-2 on the season. One of their losses came against West Texas A&M, an opponent the ThunderWolves defeated in the opening game of the 2014 season.

CSU-Pueblo is currently on a five-game winning streak. They will enter Saturday’s game with only one loss that came at the hands of Fort Lewis College, who has only won three games all season. The ThunderWolves have won their last five games by an average of 30 points.

The Angelo State Rams are led by their dual-threat quarterback, Kyle Washington. Through 11 games he’s thrown for 3011 yards and 32 touchdowns. On the ground, he rushed for 922 yards and added nine more touchdowns. As a team, they are averaging 41 points, 198 yards rushing, and 284 in the air each game.

Last season, in their loss to CSU-Pueblo, Washington threw for 173 yards, one touchdown, and an interception; on the ground, he ran nine times for 139 yards, averaging 15 yards per carry.

For the ThunderWolves, offensively, they’re led by junior running back Cameron McDondle and quarterback Chris Bonner. This season, McDondle rushed for 1555 yards and 13 touchdowns. In each of the final eight games, he rushed for at least 130 yards. His highest total came in the final regular season game with 227 yards.

Bonner went through a tough three-game stretch early in the season, only completing 43 percent of his passes. But during the last five games, he’s completed 65 percent of his passes and averaged 242.8 yards per game, throwing 12 touchdowns and only two interceptions.

Defensively, the ThunderWolves are lead by senior defensive end Darius Allen. Allen was named the 2014 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

He is second on the team behind Morgan Fox for number of sacks and tackles with nine and 14 respectively. He is tied with linebacker Seth Brown in forced fumbles with three.

As a team, the Pack scores an average of 36 points a game and only allows 13 as a defense.

Saturday, the ThunderWolves will try to win their second postseason game since the program returned nearly seven years ago. In 2012, they defeated Indianapolis in the second round after a bye, but then lost 34-13 to West Texas A&M in the quarterfinals.

CSU-Pueblo will host the Angelo State Rams Saturday at noon at the ThunderBowl.