The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference is known for its high-octane offenses. Seven teams average more than 30 points a game, with four teams ranking in the Top 30 total offense of DII football.
Perhaps none are as balanced as Colorado State-Pueblo.
The ThunderWolves lead the RMAC in scoring offense and scoring defense. That’s in large part thanks to a rushing attack averaging 224.2 yards a game, 18th-best in DII football. Leading the charge is Marché Dennard.
At first glance, the junior running back has nice numbers halfway through the season. He’s totaled 600 yards and nine touchdowns. When you break it down and look at the hot streak he is on, the numbers become more fascinating. After a slow start to the season, Dennard has rushed for at least 100 yards and two touchdowns in each of the ThunderWolves last four games.
— CSU-P Foundation (@CSUPFoundation) October 9, 2017
Colorado State-Pueblo is 4-0 over that span with arguably the biggest win of its season. The ThunderWolves defeated Colorado Mesa 30-26 in a game between the two favorites for the RMAC. Dennard ran for 105 yards and two touchdowns.
“It was a big win for us,” Dennard said. “Our goal every week is to go 1-0 and we did just that. It was a great team win, with the defense stepping up huge when we needed them and our offensive line controlling the line of scrimmage.”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Dennard is so successful at football. After all, it’s in his blood.
“Football runs all in my family,” Dennard said. “I think at some point throughout my brothers’ lives they all have played running back but I was the only pure running back. I grew up in a football family and was always around it. At a young age I couldn’t wait to play football, like I saw my older cousins and brothers doing.”
What makes the ThunderWolves most dangerous is that Dennard isn’t alone in the backfield. Colorado State-Pueblo is a two-headed monster, with sophomore Austin Micci chipping in 440 yards and seven touchdowns of his own. Last week, Dennard and Micci went over the 100-yard mark in the same game for the first time all season. It was the ThunderWolves biggest victory of the season, downing Adams State 63-17.
“Its great having Micci in the backfield,” Dennard said. “That man is a hard runner and he definitely wears the defense down.”
The ThunderWolves are currently 5-1. They sit at No. 12 in DII football and all alone in first place in the RMAC, the last undefeated team in the conference. With two signature victories agaisnt Colorado Mesa and Colorado School of Mines, the ThunderWolves are in the driver’s seat, cruising to the postseason.
But none of that is surprising to Dennard.
“We are a close-knit team and our chemistry is on point,” Dennard said. “This is where we expected to be, we are a team on a mission.”
Let’s step off the field, and go under the helmet to find out a little bit more about the ThunderWolves big-time back.
Favorite football movie: Remember the Titans. Dope movie, gets me hyped every time I watch it.
Favorite NFL team: San Diego Chargers are my favorite team because of LaDainian Tomlinson, he was unstoppable. I know they moved but they will always be the San Diego Chargers.
Player growing up, who was a football player you modeled your game after? LaDainian Tomlinson, Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch.
Who’s the best running back currently in the NFL? Marshawn Lynch is a lion.
What’s in your headphones pregame? Gospel music, I got to get my spirit right before I play.
Favorite cartoon growing up: Dragon Ball Z.
What’s something your own teammates may not even know about you? My uncle Preston Dennard played in Super Bowl XIV for the LA Rams.