Nov 13, 2010 8:06 PM by Jordan Mason
SILVER CITY, N.M. (GoThunderWolves.com - Nov. 13, 2010) - CSU-Pueblo closed out its 2010 campaign with a powerful bang Saturday, running roughshod over Western New Mexico, claiming a 45-17 victory over the Mustangs.
With the win, CSU-Pueblo ends its year with a 9-2 mark, equalling the all-time school record win mark set by the 1980 and 1982 teams (9-1 and 9-2, respectively).
The Pack cruised to the win by virtue of a strong start, opening up a 21-0 lead in the first quarter to put the game out of reach early, and the ability to force multiple turnovers.
CSU-Pueblo intercepted three passes, including two picks by Josh Costa (So., Nanakuli, Hawaii), one of which came in the end zone in the fourth quarter, as the ThunderWolves forced four turnovers. The turnovers were enough to un-do the Mustangs' spread offense, an offensive set that had given the Pack fits all season long, allowing CSU-Pueblo to employ its "bend but don't break" defense, which gave up 448 yards of offense but just 17 points.
Offensively, the Pack was led by its offensive spark, tailback Jesse Lewis (Jr., Loveland, Colo.). The Harlon Hill Award candiate for top Division II player strengthened his resume for the honor, running for 185 yards and equaling a career high with three rushing scores. His first score broke a CSU-Pueblo single season record for most rushing touchdowns in a single season. He finished 2010 with 14 rushing scores, which equalled a CSU-Pueblo single season record for most total touchdowns, owned by Herman Heard in 1982 and 1983. After reaching 1,391 rushing yards for the season Saturday, Lewis will likely finish in the top five nationally in rushing and be a strong candidate for an All-American honor.
The ThunderWolves were able to eclipse a number of single season records in the game, setting team standards for total first downs (208), rushing touchdowns (31), pass completions (157), and least rushing touchdowns allowed (5). The 45-point output Saturday raised the Pack's total points scored this season to 404, shattering the previous school record of 347, set by the 1982 team.
Entering Saturday, CSU-Pueblo was awaiting word on whether it would sneak in for a playoff spot. Entering the week ranked 10th in NCAA Division II Super Region 3, CSU-Pueblo would need a host of help to get into the top six in the region, which would qualify them for the playoffs. Many of the squads ranked above the ThunderWolves had already pulled out wins by the time the Pack's game ended Saturday, meaning a trip to the playoffs is highly unlikely.