Story and photo courtesy of Colorado State-Pueblo Athletics
GUNNISON, Colo. - CSU-Pueblo shut down Western State's offense in decisive fashion as Cameron McDondle (Fr., Littleton, Colo.) nearly eclipsed 200 yards as the Pack sealed up its second straight outright RMAC title with a 21-3 win.
The win gives the Pack its third RMAC title in school history as well as its second straight 11-0 regular season. It was also the ThunderWolves' 26th straight regular season win, which set a new RMAC record.
Despite the final score, the ThunderWolves' win, its first this year in which it did not score 30 or more points, did not come easily.
In the first half, Western State threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Pack, mostly matching the ThunderWolves blow for blow in the early going.
After CSU-Pueblo marched methodically down the field to score just five minutes into the game on a Ross Dausin (Sr., San Antonio, Texas) quarterback draw, the Mountaineers nearly matched it.
Western State drove 44 yards to the CSU-Pueblo 17-yard-line, but were turned away in the red zone and held to a field goal.
After forcing the Pack to punt on its next possession, the Mountaineers nearly took the lead, driving inside the Pack 5-yard-line. But not only did it miss out on punching it in for the score, kicker Steven Ballard shanked a 22-yard attempt, allowing the Pack to dodge a bullet.
In response, CSU-Pueblo drove the ball down the field for its second score, this one coming on a 9-yard screen pass from Dausin to McDondle, who accumulated 111 all-purpose yards in the first half alone, putting the Pack up 14-3 just before halftime.
In a back-and-forth second half, CSU-Pueblo finally put it out of reach as McDondle ran in for a score from one yard out to put the ThunderWolves up 21-3. McDondle nearly hit the 200-yard mark rushing, going for 197, and adding 34 yards through the air. His yardage total put him at 748 for the season, which breaks the one-year-old CSU-Pueblo freshman rushing record, set last season by J.B. Mathews (So., Aurora, Colo.).
The ThunderWolves now await their fate as the NCAA will now decide whether or not CSU-Pueblo receives the top seed in their region for the NCAA Division II Playoffs. The ThunderWolves are expected to receive a first-round bye after their 11-0 campaign. The announcement will take place on NCAA.com at 3 p.m. MST Sunday.