By Jason Cowan from Gothunderwolves.comSaturday may always be remembered as one of the most historically significant nights in the history of football in Pueblo.
And it was more than fitting that the game was concluded by a fireworks show.
The third-ranked ThunderWovles defeated the Colorado School of Mines Orediggers 48–28 in the University’s “pink out” game, matching a conference record in the process.
With the win, not only did John Wristen win his 50th game as head coach, but the Pack also won their 27th straight RMAC game, tying a streak by Chadron State from 2006-09.
“(The streak) means nothing to us,” Wristen said. “Our goal is to continue to play hard for 60 minutes.”
After giving up more than 700 yards of total offense last week against Chadron State, the Pack defense sacked the Oredigger quarterbacks nine times, limiting an offense that averages 43.5 points per game to 28 – most of which came against CSU-Pueblo’s second-team defense in the fourth quarter.
“The defensive guys had a great game plan,” Wristen said. “Any time you could control the line of scrimmage like our defensive line has been able to do, you’ve got a chance to win some football games.”
Of the nine sacks on the night, 3.5 came from defensive end Morgan Fox, which is third most in school history. Fox even achieved the feat with an injury, playing with a broken hand since Sept. 28 against Adams State.
“All eight or nine of us who were rotating getting a good pass and being relentless on them and just holding them down to the point where it was easy for me to do it because they did their jobs,” Fox said.
In addition to the defensive pressure, the ThunderWolves, who came into the game against the Orediggers as the No. 14 team in Division II with 17 turnovers gained, forced 3 turnovers, intercepting quarterback Joe Schneider two times, while recovering a fumble early in the first quarter.
“We want to win the turnover battle,” Wristen said. “That’s the Pack way, and we will continue to coach that way.”
The ThunderWolves, who were without leading rusher Cameron McDondle, got production on the ground from running back Chris Ashe, who finished the game with 87 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
“We’re always looking for the next guy up, and me as a starter, I just got to make sure that I keep the pressure on my guys and make sure I give it my all and reward my line when they give me good blocks,” Ashe said.
Quarterback Chris Bonner followed up his RMAC Player of the Week performance, going 17-for-27 with 255 yards and two touchdowns.
“I’m glad Chris Bonner is on our team,” Wristen said. “He throws the deep ball about as well as anyone around, which is pretty accurate. We’ll just continue to improve on that.”
The Pack will look to become the sole owner of the consecutive RMAC victory streak when they take on the Black Hills State Yellow Jackets in Spearfish, S.D. on Oct. 26 at 1 p.m.
“We just got to improve on the fundamentals, blocking and tackling,” Wristen said. “We got to make sure we don’t turn the ball over.”