The Colorado State University–Pueblo ThunderWolves football team lost 20-19 to the Colorado Mesa University Mavericks in Grand Junction, Colorado, Saturday.
A key blocked punt by freshman defensive back Tanner Draper set up the Thunderwolves on the Mavericks 40-yard line. From there the offense drove the ball with two passes from junior quarterback Rex Dausin to junior tight end Zach Boyd for a total of 28 yards. Then junior running back Bernard McDondle ran for 12 yards to put the offense on the two-yard line. Dausin then tried two quarterback sneaks and was unable to score.
The defense was playing superb as they did not allow a touchdown until the fourth quarter. The Mavericks are second in the conference in scoring with 38.5 points per game, and the Pack held them to only 20 points. The Mavericks came into this game without throwing an interception; Pack defense got two. The Pack defense also got two sacks and 10 tackles for loss. They held the Mavericks to only 65 rushing yards.
Senior outside linebacker Ryan Merrill led the team with nine total tackles and brought in the first interception of the season for the Mavericks. He added a tackle for loss and totaled two quarterback hurries. Senior safety Joseph Jones added five total tackles, a tackle for loss and recorded the other interception.
On the other side, the Pack rushing attack, led by McDondle, more than tripled the total by the Mavericks by rushing for a total of 205 yards, 188 of which yards came from McDondle off of 30 carries. This came after being sidelined for two games because of a hamstring injury. “Bernard looked great,” said TunderWolves head coach John Wristen.
Special teams also played a part as freshman kicker Nathan Taylor had a good game. Taylor started his career 2 of 5 in field goal attempts, but today he went 4 of 5 on field goal attempts. The field goals ranged from 25 to 41 yards, but the one miss came in the fourth quarter from 36 yards out.
Senior wide receiver Daniel Wise also contributed 89 yards receiving, 82 yards on kickoff returns and a four-yard punt return, to add 175 all-purpose yards.
Penalties were also an issue as the Pack entering the game, ranked eighth nationally in fewest penalties and fewest penalty yards, but in the loss to the Mavericks, committed 13 penalties for 119 yards. Fifteen of those yards came on the final scoring drive for the Mavericks, extending their drive and erasing a third down sack for a loss of nine yards.
There was some controversy about the spot of the ball on the final two plays of the game. “The first sneak I was in by a good two yards,” said Dausin. Many of the Pack players and coaches celebrated after the second sneak thinking that they just won the game, but the officials never signaled touchdown.
The Pack could have kicked a field goal after the first quarterback sneak but “I didn’t want to put pressure on a freshman kicker,” said Wristen.
The ThunderWolves continue on the road for an RMAC showdown in Alamosa, Colorado, Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. where they’ll face Adams State University.
Edited by: Theresa Wolf