CSU-Pueblo traveled to South Dakota and enshrined their version of Mount Rushmore in a 51-17 win over Black Hills State on Saturday.
The victory gives the ThunderWolves sole possession of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference winning streak record, which now stands at 28, and thus makes head coach John Wristen the CSU-Pueblo football equivalent of George Washington.
Wristen, who now has 51 wins since taking over the reemerging program in 2008, is now enshrined in RMAC history with the longest winning streak in conference and longest regular season winning streak, which has now been run to 35, the second longest active streak in the entire NCAA.
Despite throwing two interceptions on the day, Pueblo quarterback Chris Bonner had one of his finest performances of the season, completing 73 percent of his passes with a season-high 345 yards. He also added three touchdowns, bringing his season total to 23 and solidifying his place as second member of the hypothetical CSU-Pueblo landmark.
A new star was born and earned his bust on the mountain in Darius Millines, a former Division I standout for Illinois. Millines contributed two rushing touchdowns on just five attempts, caught two passes for 33 yards, and averaged 31.5 yards on just two kick returns, which gave the ThunderWolves great field position each time and led to points both times.
Senior wide receiver and leader Josh Sandoval turned in a presidential performance as well, accounting for 162 yards receiving and two long touchdowns, including a 62-yard catch-and-run that got the scoring onslaught started for the ThunderWolves less than five minutes into the game.
Though the foursome of Wristen, Bonner, Millines and Sandoval complete Mount Pueblo in full, the rushing attack of Chris Ashe and company is not to be dismissed.
Ashe was able to bust through the porous Black Hills State defense, gaining 140 yards on just 16 attempts, good for an average of over eight yards-per-carry, and also found the endzone twice.
Freshman Marche Dennard stepped in to play a huge role in the running game as well, gaining 71 yards on 8 attempts to all but equal Ashe’s yards-per-carry, while Patrick Thompson switched from his usual defensive post to gain 59 yards on the ground.
The victory runs the ThunderWolves’ record to 8-0 on the year, 6-0 in the RMAC, and puts them in a position to control their own playoff destiny with only three regular season remaining.
The ThunderWolves will return home next season for a matchup with Colorado Mesa University on Nov 2. at 6 p.m. at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl.