Pack Defense totals six interceptions in 52-12 victory against the Grizzlies

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PUEBLO, Colo. - The defense for the No. 13 Colorado State University-Pueblo football team brought down six interceptions to tie a program record and returned three of those picks for six in the 52-12 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference win Saturday against Adams State University at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl.

The Pack have won five straight and improved to 7-1 overall with a 6-1 RMAC record that sits alone in second place. The ThunderWolves scored not once, but twice on interceptions in the first quarter when linebackers Kyle Rosenbrock (Sr., Brush, Colo.) and Luke Conilogue (Jr., Erie, Colo.) returned picks for 42 and 23 yards, respectfully.

The points were important, as the Pack offense needed time to find a rhythm. The team's fourth interception of the first half and Conilogue's second of the day put the Pack offense at the 10-yard line and three plays later the home team led 21-9. The short field was managed by sophomore quarterback Gunnar Lamphere (Aurora, Colo.), as he rushed for seven yards and then finished the drive with a one-yard keeper past the goal line. ASU responded with a long drive that resulted in a field goal and at the break, CSU-Pueblo led 21-12.

A 31-0 second half gave the ThunderWolves the lopsided victory. After just 34 yards in the first half, the Pack offense got things rolling and would finish with 307 yards. Adams State collected 330 of their 439 yards in the first half. Despite being out-gained 439-307, the Pack allowed just 51 yards on the ground. ASU ran 102 plays, while the ThunderWolves totaled 66.

The final score of the game was an Amu Aukusitino (Sr., DB, Anchorage, Alaska) 72-yard interception return for a touchdown with 31 seconds remaining in the fourth to hand the ThunderWolves their sixth interception of the game to tie the program record. CSU-Pueblo also had six interceptions against Adams State in a road game, Oct. 15, 2015.

Defensive back Tevin Donnell (Sr., Fountain, Colo.) led the team with 11 tackles (nine solo) with six break-ups and a tackle for loss. Senior outside linebacker James Maxie (Parker, Colo.) added eight tackles (five solo) with 2.5 tackles for loss (-10 yards) and a sack (-5 yards) with two break-ups.

Senior corner Emery Taylor (Aurora, Colo.) brought down his second interception of the season and 19th of his career to tie the program record for career picks. He matches former All-American Stephan Dickens (2010-14). Taylor also had five tackles (four solo) with two break-ups in the game.

Cory McLellan (R-Fr., Monument, Colo.) had the other interception and returned in 21 yards. In all, CSU-Pueblo totaled 180 interception return yards.

On the offensive side, sophomore quarterback Jordan Kitna (Dallas, Texas) got things going through the air in the second half and finished the game with 194 yards and two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He hit Djimon O'Neil (So., WR, Fountain, Colo.) on a 29-yard pass five minutes into the third and found receiver Nick Williams (So., Aurora, Colo.) for a 32-yard strike with two minutes left in the 17-point third frame. Williams was the top receiver with four catches for 79 yards and the score. His long went for 36 yards.

Junior kicker Mitchell Carter (Colorado Springs, Colo.) was 7-for-7 on extra points and added a 37-yard third quarter field goal to rack up 10 points.

Punter Justin Dwinell (R-Fr., Colorado Springs, Colo.) was busy, especially in the first half, as he totaled 300 yards on seven punts to average 42.9 yards per kick. He landed five punts inside the 20 and had two 50-plus yard boots with the long measuring out to be 52 yards.

In the run game, junior D.J. Penick (Evanston, Ill.) totaled 52 yards on 12 attempts. Sophomore Marcus Lindsay (RB, Aurora, Colo.) found the end zone with a fourth-quarter, five-yard rush.

The ThunderWolves conclude the road portion of their regular season slate with Fort Lewis College, Nov. 2 beginning at 12 p.m.