Intensity changed for Mavs against WSC
The Colorado Mesa University football team had one of its worst offensive performances of the season Saturday, but the Mavericks put together a drive when they needed it.
Mesa trailed Western State Colorado University 19-14 late in the third quarter after the defense limited the Mountaineers to a field goal after an interception. That’s when Mesa responded with a 16-play, 93-yard touchdown drive, eating up more than seven minutes of the clock, to take a 22-19 lead.
“I’m very pleased with the way the kids battled,” CMU coach Russ Martin said Tuesday.
Martin singled out quarterback Deke Cisco for doing a great job on the winning drive, running play-action and hitting a couple of big passes.
“He was more decisive and more focused in,” Martin said. “I think that was the biggest difference. We were disappointed in our passing game overall, but in that drive we came through and had some great things happen. That’s a good thing.”
The Mavericks (4-6, 4-4 RMAC) didn’t throw out the playbook or make any personnel changes. They stayed with the game plan, which may seem odd given that Western limited Mesa to 199 yards of total offense — the Mavericks’ second lowest total of the season.
“It was pretty much the same stuff,” Martin said. “I think the intensity and the focus of the kids were better. The best way to equate it out was similar to the second half against Western New Mexico. We didn’t change what we were doing. We changed the intensity in which we were doing (it). That’s a good thing for our kids. It’s another one of those learning and growing phases you have to go through.”
Eleven of the 16 plays on the drive were on the ground, but the biggest plays were in the air. Cisco completed four of seven passes for 44 yards. Two of them were third-down conversions, and Western was called for pass interference on two of the three incompletions.
The Mavericks made it difficult on themselves with 14 penalties for 112 yards. Four of them were 15-yard penalties on special teams.
“We had four major stupid penalties,” Martin said. “We had a couple major mistakes in the kicking game that hurt us in field position.
“That’s a large part of the game. Those were big in field position and changing momentum at the time. We have to take care of that this week, or we won’t beat Adams.”
Martin said the kickoff coverage team did a great job.
“The best field position they had was when we kicked it to the back of the end zone and they got it at the 25,” he said. “As for actual return yards, they didn’t have anything other than us hitting them and giving them an extra 30 yards.”
Dismissed from team
Defensive back Valencio Gray was dismissed from the team last week for violation of team rules, but Martin wouldn’t comment further.
He did say he would consider reinstating Gray after this season.
Three more players who have been out with injuries returned to practice this week.
Junior quarterback Jason Haferman (knee), junior wide receiver Nate Neville and redshirt freshman tight end Zeth Ramsey (concussion) will be available to play in the season finale Saturday.
Haferman was taking snaps but in noncontact situations.
“We’ll still start Deke,” Martin said. “Jason can’t take live reps yet, but at least Jason is available.”
Colorado Mesa concludes the first season under Martin on Saturday at Adams State. The Mavericks could finish tied for fourth place in the RMAC with a victory.
“If we can do that, it would be a good deal,” Martin said. “Where we were and where we started, that would be great.”
Kickoff is at 1 p.m. in Alamosa.