COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (GoThunderWolves.com - Aug. 5, 2013) - CSU-Pueblo will claim its third straight Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championship in 2013 according to the RMAC Preseason Coaches' Poll, which was released Monday.
The ThunderWolves received six of a possible 10 first-place votes - the other four going to fellow 2012 NCAA Division II playoff qualifier, Chadron State - after going 12-1 last season, winning its first ever NCAA Division II playoff game, and finishing sixth in the nation. The ThunderWolves were picked in the preseason top ten by both The Sporting News and Lindy's College Football Preview.
In addition, junior defensive end Darius Allen (Jr., Pueblo, Colo.) and senior punter Brandon Kliesen (Sr., Pueblo, Colo.) were selected as the preseason defensive and special teams players of the year, respectively.
Allen was named All-RMAC Second Team in 2012. He recorded two sacks and a forced fumble over Northwestern Oklahoma State, and had a season-high 10 tackles, with 1.5 tackles for a loss, against Chadron State. He also made nine tackles in an NCAA DII Semifinal playoff game. Allen finished the season with 45 tackles, three sacks and two fumble recoveries.
A 2012 Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American, Don Hansen's Football Gazette All-American, and Second Team All-RMAC selection, Kliesen averaged 45.6 yards per punt. 17 of his punts were downed inside the 20, while only seven were touchbacks. Kliesen's longest effort of the year came in the NCAA Division II Semifinal game against West Texas A&M in which he booted an 87-yard punt.
Allen and Kliesen headlined nine Preseason All-RMAC selections, the most of any team in the conference.
Tight end Roger Pfannenschmid (Sr., Pueblo, Colo.), guard Drew Swartz (Sr., Gilbert, Ariz.), nose guard Tony Campton (So., Littleton, Colo.), linebacker Kevin Cuff (So., San Diego, Calif.), defensive backs C.J. Roberts (Jr., Boynton Beach, Fla.) and Jarrod Lacy (Jr., Boynton Beach, Fla.) and punt returner Josh Sandoval (Sr., Pueblo, Colo.) were also selected.
RMAC coaches will address the media Monday afternoon at the annual RMAC Football Media Day, being held at the Colorado Springs Marriott Hotel.