Mavs get defensive
Auer's intensity rubs off on CMU defense in season-opening shutout
Colorado Mesa University defensive coordinator Todd Auer was showered with water after the game, then showered with praise by his players.
“We play our hearts out for him because we know he would do anything for us, and it means a lot that we got that shutout for him tonight,” senior safety Michael Brady said.
As the clock struck zero, Brady and defensive tackle Ryan Sivetts celebrated the 34-0 win over Menlo College by giving the veteran coach the traditional winning “Gatorade shower.”
It had been nearly six years since CMU handed an opponent a bagel on the scoreboard.
Saturday night, the Mavericks were in total control, pounding the Oaks with a physical brand of football.
Auer, who is in his second season with the Mavs after 22 years at Chadron State College, preaches defensive intensity, and that’s what the Mavs demonstrated all game long in limiting Menlo to 204 total yards.
Senior middle linebacker Jake Edmiston was just a sophomore for the Palisade Bulldogs when the Mavs had their last shutout — Nov. 3, 2007.
“It’s also our first season-opening win since 2007,” Edmiston said with a smile. “That’s been our goal all week. We’ve been preaching shutout all week.”
The game plan was simple, and like any good defense, it’s about being physical.
“We just wanted to be physical with them and set the tone early,” Brady said.
The tone was loud and clear from the opening kickoff.
All game long, the Mavs chopped down the Oaks running game, holding them to 62 yards on 38 carries.
Early in the second half, Edmiston came out flying to the football, drilling a runner for no gain. Then, on the next play he forced an intentional grounding call when he popped Menlo quarterback Erik Peterson eight yards behind the line of scrimmage.
In the passing game, the name of the game was pressure.
“They make (the defensive backs’) job easy, and they really made our job easy tonight, getting sacks and hurries on the quarterback,” Brady said.
The Mavs pressured the Menlo quarterbacks all game long, with Sivetts getting two sacks, Edmiston getting credit for a sack and a half, and Andrew Hurley getting one.
Brady, who also is Mesa’s punter, got the chance to run the ball, albeit not by design.
“It was a rollout punt, and it opened up. It wasn’t planned by any means,” he said with a grin.
He ran for 13 yards and a first down, and an extra 15 yards were tacked on for a personal foul.
The secondary had a number of chances at interceptions, but only Jordan Price came away with a pickoff.
Head coach Russ Martin loved the defensive intensity.
“We really played well, and we were running to the ball, and we didn’t have a lot of missed tackles,” he said.
The Mavs preached shutout all week and got the job done.
“We didn’t play a perfect game by any means, but we’re proud of that shutout,” Edmiston said.