Colorado Mesa quarterback Kyle Duran has steadily improved running the Mavericks’ offense.

Colorado Mesa’s Jake Edmiston, 33, and Zach Hamm, 48, chase after a loose ball against Menlo College earlier this season.

COLORADO MESA (1-2, 0-1) vs.
Black Hills State (0-3, 0-1)

Kickoff: 1 p.m., Saturday, Stocker Stadium

On the Air: 1230-AM (KEXO)

Internet: for live stats and streaming video

Last Week

Chadron State rallied to defeat Colorado Mesa 30-24.

Colorado Mines rolled to a 62-22 victory over Black Hills State.

Series History

Colorado Mesa leads the all-time series 1-0. The Mavericks defeated Black Hills State 31-29 in the first meeting last year in Spearfish, S.D.

About Black Hills State

■ Black Hills State is on the road for the third time in four weeks.

■ The Yellow Jackets, who have seven new starters on defense, rank last in the RMAC in yards allowed (643.7 per game), rushing defense (309 yards per game), points allowed (47.7 per game) and time of possession (24 minutes per game).

■ Black Hills State QB Ward Anderson has completed 57.5 percent of his passes for 739 yards with seven TDs and two interceptions. The junior has thrown for 3,111 yards in his career.

■ Senior offensive lineman Tonn Tetrault is the younger brother of CMU assistant coach Tanner Tetrault, who was an assistant at Black Hills State before coming to Mesa.

What BHSU coach John Reiners says

■ About his defense’s struggles: “We’re trying to find the right guys and get guys to play at a higher level. We’ve (played) some tough teams.”

■ About his offense: “We’ve been able to move the football. I think we need to be more consistent and keep our defense off the field. That’s a big key for us. That puts more onus on our offense to keep the football and score points.”

■ About Colorado Mesa: “Mesa is playing well. They had a tough loss last week. They got off to a quick start, but were not able to put the nail in the coffin. I expect it to be a great game. I know they will have a great game plan. I think there are some great matchups.”

■ About CMU RB Jake Cimolino: “The guy you’ve got to stop is running back Jake Cimolino. He’s their go-to guy. Obviously they’re trying to do some things to get the ball in his hands.”

■ About CMU’s defense: “It is a typical Coach (Todd) Auer defense. They fly around and try to get turnovers. We’ve got to match that intensity. There are a lot of things Mesa’s got going for them.”

■ About keys to the game: “Turnovers have been huge for both teams. I think getting off to a quick start, too. For us, we need to get off to a quick start, especially on the road and give ourselves an opportunity to win.”

About Colorado Mesa

■ The Mavericks are second in the RMAC in scoring defense (17.3 points per game) and fourth in total defense (350.3 yards per game).

■ Junior RB Jake Cimolino is 26th in all of Division II with 119.3 rushing yards per game. He ranks fourth all-time in career rushing yards at CMU with 2,697. He needs 138 yards to surpass Charles Dukes (2001-04) for third place.

■ Senior LB Jake Edmiston is sixth in the nation (Division II) in total tackles with 12.7 per game. He has 150 career tackles.

■ Junior CB Jordan Price (ankle) is probable to play. Freshman OL Mitch Wehrli (concussion) and sophomore DE Mitch Irwin (concussion) are probable. WR Nate Neville (hamstring) and QB Aric Kaiser (knee) are questionable. DE Will Harvey (hernia) is out.

What CMU coach Russ Martin says

■ About the difference between the game against Chadron last year and this year: “A year ago, we hoped to win. Saturday, we expected to win. Chadron is a good team. We struggled in the red zone, but also you take a look at it, (we had) four flags on drives we didn’t score touchdowns. All of a sudden it’s a totally different ballgame. We have a lot of things we can work on. That’s what our focus is going to be on. We have enough things we can get better at that would give us the opportunity to win that game.”

■ About CMU’s offense: “We played much better offensively. We threw the football fairly well. We can throw it that much better. Even in the run game we can be more dynamic. We missed some key blocks. Even on a couple deals we had guys blocking things wrong.”

■ About quarterback Kyle Duran: “I think Kyle’s getting better as we go, and I think our offense will continue to get better as the season progresses. Our quarterbacks have a lot they have to identify. They’ve got reads they have to make. That’s what we expect. He can be that kind of quarterback, no doubt in my mind.”

■ About CMU’s defense: “Defensively, we had a good, solid outing (against Chadron State). We had a couple breakdowns on third down and gave them big third-down conversions. Our defense created some turnovers, yet they will tell you we had a chance of being a much better football team.”

■ About Black Hills State: “There is a lot of similarities in both these football teams. A lot of the things they do defensively, again, is very similar to what our defense does. A lot of things they do offensively is very similar to what our offense does. Both want to be fast-paced with a lot of the (zone reads). I think you’ll see some very interesting matchups as it goes on. I don’t think either team will be surprised or fooled by the tempo because of how each team practices. What it comes down to is what team executes the best for 60 minutes.”

■ About last year’s game against Black Hills State: “We had to have that drive late in the game and kick a field goal to win that game. In their minds, we’re a team they can beat. They’ll have high expectations for this game.”

— Allen Gemaehlich


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