Mistakes costly in Mavs’ loss to Mines
The Colorado Mesa University football team had its share of opportunities Saturday but continued to make mistakes.
The Mavericks had a season-high six turnovers in a 34-7 loss to the Colorado School of Mines at Harry Campbell Field in Golden.
“It was one of those days,” CMU head coach Russ Martin said. “They dominated the line of scrimmage. We couldn’t get anything going in the run game and (had) way too many turnovers. Defensively we played well at times, but struggled to get to the passer. The defense created turnovers and played well enough to give us a chance to win.”
Mines scored 10 fewer points and had 124 fewer yards of total offense than its season average, and the Orediggers committed five turnovers, but Colorado Mesa’s offense converted only one into points.
Mesa’s defense forced two turnovers in the third quarter, but instead of capitalizing on them, the Mavericks turned the ball back over to the Orediggers. Mesa linebacker Koa Asing recovered a Mines fumble near midfield, but Mesa quarterback Jason Haferman threw an interception on the ensuing possession. The Mavericks (3-5, 3-3 RMAC) got the ball back when Travis McRae intercepted Mines quarterback Matt Brown, but Mesa fumbled on the next play. Mines converted it into a field goal and a 27-0 lead late in the third quarter.
“We have a chance to come back, and we immediately turn it back over,” Martin said. “We had a great play-action called on one. Rob (Felberg) is wide open, and Jason couldn’t see him. He underthrew it and got a pick. The coaches couldn’t have called a more perfect play. Today was not a typical day.”
Brown completed 32 of 49 passes for 304 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. The sophomore threw to eight different receivers.
Mesa hoped to utilize its ball-control running game to keep the Orediggers’ prolific offense off the field, but Mesa struggled to run the ball. The Mavericks were held to 35 yards on 34 carries.
Sophomore running back Jake Cimolino, who surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the season last week, was limited a season-low 24 yards. It was the first time in five games he was held under 100 yards.
Quarterback Deke Cisco, who came in for an injured Haferman, led Mesa in rushing with 42 yards.
“It was very disappointing from our perspective,” Martin said. “They just controlled the line of scrimmage. We know we can play better than what we did.”
Mines (5-3, 3-3 RMAC) took advantage of a significant injury on Mesa’s offensive line.
“(Senior center) Matt Mankoff rolled his ankle hard in practice this week, and we weren’t able to control things inside,” Martin said. “Matt tried to play the first half, but he was really struggling getting movement on the nose guard. On top of that, we were dropping some balls.”
Haferman was injured late in the third quarter and didn’t return. Martin said he injured his knee, and his status for next Saturday against No. 1-ranked CSU-Pueblo is unknown.
The Orediggers defense greeted Cisco’s return to quarterback with a 73-yard interception return for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter for a 34-0 lead.
Mesa sophomore cornerback Jordan Price intercepted Mines a second time late in the game and returned it 95 yards for a score, but Mesa’s Domonique Lewis was penalized on the return. It was one of 13 penalties for 102 yards by the Mavericks.
“That is way too many,” Martin said. “We had a couple stupid penalties. We had a couple guys do things that were not smart. One was on a touchdown called back; Dom tripped over one of our own guys, then a Mines guy falls down over him.”
A couple of plays later, Turmour Battle caught a 62-yard touchdown pass from Cisco with 2:11 left.