The CSU-Pueblo football team took the national stage Thursday, Oct. 6, in front of a record crowd of 9,447, at the Neta and Eddie DeRose Thunderbowl Stadium. The Pack handed the Colorado School of Mines a 23-6 loss.
This was the university’s first victory over Mines since 1983.
The ThunderWolves’ record is now 6-0, its best start since the RMAC championship team of 1980. The victory was lead by a strong Pack defense, who allowed just six points to the Orediggers, which were the first points allowed at a home game all season.
In front of a raucous crowd of nearly 10,000 people, the ThunderWolves’ defense came out aggressive and ready to play. On the first series of the game the defense forced a three and out allowing only seven yards to the Orediggers.
The Pack never looked back from that point on. After fielding a punt, the Pack offense set out to make a national statement of their own. Led by a breakout performance from freshman running back J.B. Mathews, the ThunderWolves completed an 88 -yard drive with a four-yard run by Mathews. After a missed extra point, the Pack led 6-0.
The game settled down a bit after that, with both teams having to punt the ball on back-to-back occasions. However, the Pack extended their lead when a broken play allowed quarterback Ross Dausin to scramble in the backfield and find a streaking Mathews for a 75- yard touchdown pass. This made the score 13-0 early in the game.
The following drive for the Orediggers saw them reach the Pack’s one-yard line, but once again the Pack defense showed why they are one of the best in the conference.
They forced two fumbles on the next four plays, recovering one on fourth down, which was a result from a sack by defensive end Grant Jansen. The sack made Jansen the all-time school leader in sacks.
“It’s a cool label but I don’t really focus on the individual accomplishments, but more on the team,” Jansen said.
The Pack drove down the field for a late field goal, taking a 16-0 lead into the halftime break.
The second half began with a Pack three and out, giving the Orediggers the momentum they needed. The Orediggers were threatening to score again after driving to the Pack’s red zone, but senior defensive back Josh Costa had other plans as he intercepted the ball giving it right back to the ThunderWolves.
The interception turned out to be the nail in the coffin. Three plays later, Mathews made a couple defenders miss and took the ball to the end zone completing a 45-yard touchdown run. With the score now 23-6, the Orediggers struggled and were unable to develop any sort of drive for the rest of the game.
Mathews finished the day with 226 total yards, 116 rushing and 110 receiving yards, while also finishing with three total touchdowns. Starting senior running back Jesse Lewis also rushed for over 100 yards, finishing with 123 yards on 25 carries.
The pack finished with an astounding 243 yards of rushing and 271 yards passing, while holding the Oredigger offense to just 25 yards rushing. The performance by the Pack on national television could raise some eyebrows across the nation.
The pack now gear up for their toughest test of the season as they travel to the fourth-ranked University of Nebraska-Kearney, Saturday, Oct. 15, in a game that will most likely produce the RMAC champion.