PUEBLO, Colo. - The ThunderWolves took care of business Saturday night extending their regular season win streak to 19 games with a satisfying win over in-state rival Adams State, 30-0.
Defensively for the ThunderWolves, it was by far the most complete performance of the season. The Pack forced seven turnovers, which included four interceptions off Adams quarterbacks, who split time after both seemed to struggle against the ThunderWolves' ball hawk secondary. The seven total turnovers were tied for the most by the team since the program returned to the field in 2008.
"I think it was just the emphasis we put on getting off the field on third down and getting turnovers in practice this week," senior defensive end Corey Orth (Sr., Buena Vista, Colo.) said.
But there was an X-factor in the team's performance, Orth said - the 8,600-plus crowd cheering on the ThunderWolves.
"The crowd is probably the reason that we played so well tonight," Orth continued. "They were unbelievable."
Sophomore running back J.B. Mathews (So., Aurora, Colo.) showed the Grizzlies why he is the nation's leading rusher so far in 2012. Though it wasn't the usual totals ThunderWolves fans have grown accustomed to seeing out of Mathews, he still managed 73 yards on the ground a touchdown.
The real story of the game however was the revamped Pack defense, who had given up an average of 28 points per game thus far. The ThunderWolves held the Grizzlies scoreless and under 300 yards of total offense. Accounting for eight tackles for a loss and two sacks, the ThunderWolves defense had the Grizzly quarterback tandem running for their lives all night.
"I thought we were able to do some good things on our defensive line and get penetration," head coach John Wristen said. "But we got turnovers, and when you get turnovers it allows you to be successful."
With the game well in hand late in the third quarter and into the fourth, the Pack had a chance to show off what the future has in store.
Freshman running back Cameron McDondle (Fr., Littleton, Colo.) got nine carries and took advantage of them, becoming the game's leading rusher with 82 yards, good enough for 9.1 yards a carry.
"The team played great. That was the reason I was able to get in," McDondle said. "I was a little nervous because it was the first time I got a lot of carries but I felt like I did pretty good."
With Saturday's win over Adams State, the Pack increase their winning streak against their bitter rivals to four, but marked the first shutout win for the ThunderWolves in the 29-game history of the series.
To add icing on the cake, quarterback Ross Dausin (Sr., San Antonio, Texas) threw his way into the record books Saturday night, using a modest 138-yard game to take over the school's career total yardage crown, breaking the previous mark of 4,429 yards, set by current Northwestern University Offensive Coordinator and 2012 CSU-Pueblo Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, Mick McCall.
The Pack head back out on the road again to continue RMAC play next Saturday when they travel to Durango to take on Fort Lewis. ThunderWolves have beaten the Skyhawks in each of their four previous meetings, pretty handily as well, winning by a combined 171-21 in the four matchups.