CSU-Pueblo claims first Division II title

Kansas City, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - After disbanding its football program in 1985 and not reinstating it until 2008, CSU-Pueblo has finally reached the top.

Chris Bonner threw for 191 yards and accounted for the game's lone touchdown on a pass to Paul Browning, leading the ThunderWolves in a 13-0 win over top- ranked Minnesota State to secure the program's first Division II national championship.

Cameron McDondle rushed for a game-high 112 yards on 28 carries in the win.

CSU-Pueblo (14-1) ended the season on a nine-game winning streak to capture the title in convincing fashion.

The ThunderWolves, who ranked fourth in scoring defense at 13.7 points per game, faced a stiff test going up against a Minnesota State team that entered the game seventh in the nation in scoring offense (42.9 ppg).

But they didn't seem to have a problem on Saturday.

The shutout marked the first in the Division II national championship since 1997 when Northern Colorado throttled New Haven, 51-0.

The Mavericks (14-1), making their first appearance in the title game along with their opponent, were limited to 258 total yards.

Ricky Lloyd threw for 100 yards and also had team-high 63 yards on the ground in the setback. Nick Pieruccini also got some time under center for Minnesota State, throwing for 64 yards on 6-of-13 passing.

CSU-Pueblo had the first scoring opportunity of the day when Bonner led a 10- play, 52-yard drive that stalled at the Mavericks 27. However, Greg O'Donnell missed his 43-yard field goal attempt and the game remained scoreless after one quarter.

On the first play of the second quarter, Pieruccini completed a 29-yard pass to Dorian Buford on 3rd-and-5 from the Minnesota State 32. Pieruccini then converted another third down seven plays later with a 12-yard strike to Jeff Burns down to the ThunderWolves 8. CSU-Pueblo's defense held up, though, and Josh Bredl made a big play, blocking Alden Haffar's 27-yard field goal try.

The ThunderWolves answered with a 53-yard scoring drive that culminated in O'Donnell's 27-yard field goal that opened the scoring midway through the second quarter.

Bonner proceeded to lead a touchdown drive on CSU-Pueblo's next touch. On 3rd- and-5 from the Minnesota State 18, Bonner was under duress and nearly sacked, but he managed to get the pass off and convert a touchdown to Browning and help the ThunderWolves to a 10-0 lead at the break.

Browning finished with a game-high 84 yards on five receptions.

O'Donnell booted a 24-yard field goal on the opening drive of the second half to put the ThunderWolves up 13-0 3:12 into the third.

The CSU-Pueblo defense would take it from there.

Bredl came up with a big sack of Pieruccini on third down at midfield in the early stages of the fourth to force a punt. Darius Allen then sacked Lloyd on third down later in the fourth to set up a 4th-and-17, but Lloyd only gained 11 yards on the following run.

McDondle busted off a 15-yard run in the closing minutes on third down and the ThunderWolves ran out the remaining clock.