The CSU-Pueblo Thunderwolves weren’t able to pull off the big upset on the road Saturday, against Minnesota State University-Mankato, losing 24-10.
The Thunderwolves went into the second round of the NCAA D2 tournament as the underdogs, against the top-ranked Mavericks.
CSU-P was down 24-0 in the 3rd quarter, when the Pack started to put together a comeback run–scoring 10 unanswered points.
The shift in momentum came after Bernard McDondle broke free for a 27-yard touchdown run with under 7 minutes left in the 3rd, capping six-play, 66-yard drive.
Later in the quarter, Mitchell Carter hit a 22-yard field goal, to cut Mankato’s lead to 14.
Thunderwolves wrapped up the 3rd quarter with two interceptions: one from Marcus Lawrence (which led to Carter’s field goal), and the other from Darius Williams.
But Mavericks D would match the pair of interceptions in the 4th quarter–effectively holding the Pack to 10 points, and putting an end to their season.
After the game, players said they did their best to leave everything on the field.
“It’s a testament to our team all year. We’ve had a lot of slow games, a lot of things not go in our favor–and never had the fight killed in us,” said senior wide receiver Kevin Ribarich.
“Unfortunately, it was just too little, too late today,” he added.
“I think we had a good 4 quarters of football,” said senior cornerback Darius Williams.
“We had a lot of shots being taken at us. Their new quarterback was trying me all day. He’s a hell of a receiver–big body and has good control in the air. He made me play my best ball today. I feel like it was a great battle. I would do it again if I could,” Williams concluded.
“I’m proud of my 16 seniors that gave everything they’ve got to this program,” head Coach John Wristen said, visibly emotional. “I appreciate their heart and support. It was just a tough day to end and my hat is off to Mankato.”
To watch the full interview, click here.