No. 13 ThunderWolves post 29-22 victory at Adams State

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ALAMOSA, Colo. The No. 13 Colorado State University-Pueblo football team posted a 29-22 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference road win at Adams State University, Saturday in Alamosa, Colorado.

The ThunderWolves improved to 7-1, 6-1 in RMAC play and recorded their fifth straight victory. The Grizzlies moved to 4-4 overall and in league play.

With the game tied 22-22, junior running back Austin Micci (Colorado Springs, Colo.) busted off a 26 yard run to the end zone to give the road team the 29-22 lead with 4:01 to play in regulation.

Micci would go on to finish with 141 yards and a score on 19 attempts. He didn't have a carry for loss in his second straight and third total 100-plus yard game rushing this season. He averaged 7.4 yards per carry, as the junior entered the game ranked No. 11 in NCAA Division II with 6.9 yards per attempt.

The defense was then called upon to make a stop in the final minutes and after ASU converted on one fourth down, the Pack was able to lock down at midfield and force a turnover on downs.

In the final series the ThunderWolves totaled two sacks, which moved their total for the game to a season-high eight. CSU-Pueblo compiled 14 tackles for loss, which resulted in a loss of 45 yards (33 yards off the eight sacks). The Pack entered the game leading the nation in tackles for loss with 10.3 per contest. On the other side of the line, ASU ranked No. 2 nationally in least tackles for loss allowed at 2.86 TFL per game.

Adams State entered the battle ranked fifth in Division II in passing offense (324.7 ypg), ninth in total offense (497.4 ypg) and 11th in scoring (42.6 ppg). Despite running 16 less plays, the Pack would total more yards at 352 to 329. ASU had 228 yards passing and would finish with 101 yards on the ground. Grizzly quarterback Nick Rooney closed the game 24-for-41 for 185 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He threw for five touchdowns last week and entered the game leading Division II in the category.

Junior inside linebacker Kyle Rosenbrock (Brush, Colo.), the back-to-back RMAC Defensive Player of the Week, finished with a team-high eight tackles (five solo) with two tackles for loss (-5 yards), a half sack, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Junior defensive end Jackson Wibbels (Colorado Springs, Colo.) finished with seven tackles (three solo) and posted 3.5 sacks (-19 yards). Morgan Fox was the last member of the Pack defense to total three or more sacks, as he had three at Colorado Mesa University on Nov. 7, 2015.

Senior corner Darius Williams (Gilbert, Ariz.) added seven tackles (five solo) with one for loss (-4 yards). Junior linebacker James Maxie (Parker, Colo.) also posted seven tackles (five solo) with 2.5 tackles for loss (-6 yards), which included 1.5 sacks (-5 yards) and he forced a fumble. Senior defensive lineman Michael Wristen (Broomfield, Colo.) added five tackles (three solo) with 3.5 tackles for loss (-7 yards) and 1.5 sacks (-5 yards).

CSU-Pueblo got it done on offense with the run game totaling 212 yards on 46 carries. In addition to Micci, redshirt-freshman Marcus Lindsay (Aurora Colo.) gathered 80 yards on 11 carries and the Pack's first touchdown – a 20-yard run with 11:54 left in the second quarter.

Redshirt-freshman quarterback Jace Christian (Fountain, Colo.) made his first collegiate start and threw the first touchdown of his career to senior wide receiver Kevin Ribarich (Pueblo, Colo.). The 37-yard catch and run to the paint gave the Pack a 15-7 lead midway through the second.

Christian finished 10-for-22 for 140 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. His other score also came in the second, this time it was a 19-yard pass to the end zone for Nick Williams (R-Fr., WR, Aurora, Colo.) with 1:45 left in the half.

Ribarich was the top target, as he pulled down five receptions for 92 yards, which established career-highs in both categories.

The Grizzlies struck first on a trick play that converted a fourth-and-one into a 43-yard touchdown to go up 7-0 with 3:54 left in the first. The Pack didn't score in the first quarter, but put up 22 in the second on the Lindsay run and two Christian passing scores.

ASU scored in between the two passing touchdowns and the Pack led 22-15 at the half. Both squads converted on a two-point conversion during the second.

In a third quarter that saw four turnovers (two by each team), the Grizzlies were the only to score after driving 73 yards on seven plays to tie the game 22-22 with 1:48 left in the third.

The two teams proceeded to punt back and forth to each other until Micci put the ThunderWolves ahead for good his run to the end zone.

The Pack are back at home Oct. 27 for the final home game of the regular season. The ThunderWolves will host Fort Lewis College for a 12 p.m. kickoff on Senior Day and Military Appreciation Day.