CSU-Pueblo ThunderWolves Football: Three Keys to upset MNSU
On Saturday, the Colorado State University-Pueblo ThunderWolves begin the second season. However, the DII football committee was not too nice. The ThunderWolves will have to travel to Mankato, Minnesota to take on the Mavericks of Minnesota State University, Mankato. Both teams enter the game nationally ranked. MNSU finished the season with the #1 ranking in the AFCA coaches poll and the #2 ranking in D2football.com. The CSU-Pueblo ThunderWolves finished 20th in AFCA and 16th in D2football.com. So, what does the Pack have to do to pull off the upset on Saturday? Here are the three keys to the game.
- Rex Dausin
Dausin has to be smart in this game for the CSU-Pueblo ThunderWolves. He needs to rely on his senior leadership qualities to keep the offense on the field. If there is a weakness on the Mavericks it in their secondary. They rank 84th in the country in passing yards allowed. The opposition is averaging 206 PYPG against MNSU. The Pack’s passing game is averaging 220 PYPG. Thus, being smart with the football and sustaining drives will be crucial to a ThunderWolves upset.
- Running Game
MNSU is 4th in the country in rushing defense. In fact, opponents are only averaging 71 RYPG against the Mavericks. That is a tough hill to climb for any team. The CSU-Pueblo ThunderWolves are 45th in rushing offense. They average 191.5 RYPG. The ThunderWolves are going to need every bit of that ground game on Saturday. Especially to maintain time of possession.
Junior tailback Marché Dennard leads the Pack. He has 1,015 yards on the season. He is a powerful back who does not go down easy on first contact. Hence, his running style is conducive for playoff football.
The CSU-Pueblo ThunderWolves defense is the reason they are in the playoffs. Particularly because they are a top 10 defense in the country. Nevertheless, they are going to need to be at their best on Saturday afternoon. Seeing that, the Mavericks are the 3rd best rushing team in the country.
However, MNSU is 107th in the country in passing, averaging 189 PYPG. On the other hand, the ThunderWolves only allow 164 PYPG. Overall, on defense is where the Pack will win or lose the game in my opinion.
CSU-Pueblo is going to have to keep this game close to have a chance. Consequently, this could be the biggest win in the program’s history. On the whole, a win a Saturday is a huge statement to the rest of the country.
Kickoff for the DII Playoffs in Mankato, MN is at 11 AM on Saturday, November 18th.
Follow Sean and the CSU-Pueblo ThunderWolves football team all season long on Twitter and Instagram @NFLWBLZ.