The CSU-Pueblo football team is off to a 5-0 start, after a 33-30 triple overtime last Saturday at the Thunderbowl.
The Thunderwolves are also in the top 25 in the NCAA Division II rankings for the first time in school history, as well as the first time they have appeared in a national poll since 1983, the gothunderwolves.com website reported.
Jesse Lewis had a big game rushing for 118 yards on 18 carries, while kicker Kyle Major made four field goals, including the 34 yard field goal that won the game for the Thunderwolves. The four field goals was a career high for Major, as he also broke the CSU-Pueblo record for field goals in a game, the gothunderwolves.com website said.
The gothunderwolves.com website also said that both Lewis and Major, were also named Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference players of the week.
The Thunderwolves have now won nine straight games that dates back to the end of last season. At one point in the game the Thunderwolves were down 10-0, but head coach John Wristen was able to rally his team be encouraging them not to panic and to keep playing hard.
Wristen also said that anytime you beat a quality opponent such as Chadron, it is always a big program.
Success has come very fast for this program, considering the program returned to CSU-Pueblo only two years ago. However, Wristen is not one bit surprised that the team is this good, this soon.
“If you have a bunch of guys that clearly imagine, who heartedly believe in, and who enthusiastically act on it, is shall happen,” Wristen said.
With the program now being in its third season, the team has also grown since 2008, and Wristen has definitely taken notice. He has given credit to guys who have been with the program the past few years getting bigger, stronger and faster. Wristen also said that playing veteran players, and not as many freshman has helped as well.
The Thunderwolves have plenty of players having good seasons, but in the eyes of Wristen, it is the entire team that is making major contributions and a big reason why they are having unbelievable success.
Wristen said he can’t single out a single guy, but he thinks that everyone has done a nice job. He also said that everyone is playing hard, and that the defense is playing good, forcing a lot of turnovers.
Even though the Thunderwolves are 5-0, and are the only undefeated team left in the RMAC, there is still plenty of football to be played with many crucial league games down the stretch.
The one game that Wristen mentioned would be very important is the game this Saturday at Colorado School of Mines in Golden. The Thunderwolves lost to Mines last year, and will be entering this game with another good team coming in at 4-1.
Along with the game against Mines, the Thunderwolves also have league games against Nebraska-Kearney, Mesa State, New Mexico Highlands, Western State and Western New Mexico. Of these five schools, only Nebraska-Kearney and New Mexico Highlands are home games for the Thunderwolves, the gothunderwolves.com website reported.
Wristen’s coaching past has involved schools other than CSU-Pueblo. He has been involved in NCAA Division I programs that include Colorado, Northwestern University and UCLA the gothunderwolves.com website said. But when it comes to his current team, he likes where it’s at, and how successful they can become.
“This team has a great nucleus of kids that have a great attitude and chemistry,” Wristen said. “If you have that, you have a chance to be successful.”