Mavs never trail in win against Western N.M.
It was the second win of the season, but the first the Mesa State College football team led from start to finish.
The Mavericks scored a touchdown in the first quarter then wore down Western New Mexico 31-7 on Saturday in Silver City, N.M.
“The way the team came together, we’re firing on all cylinders,” Mesa State coach Joe Ramunno said. “This win catapults us to next week.
“We needed to dominate a ball game. We played pretty good. We had a lot of miscues in the first half, but a couple of those interceptions bounced up (deflected) and they caught them.”
The Mavericks (2-2, 2-0 RMAC) had four turnovers, including three in the first half, but the defense came through, forcing the Mustangs (0-3, 0-2 RMAC) to punt twice and stuffing them on fourth down in scoring territory.
The defense forced a turnover in the third quarter when Ricky Noble, who normally plays wide receiver, intercepted a pass in scoring territory. Noble missed the first three games of the season with a broken finger and played with cornerback Josh Padilla out after Padilla sprained an ankle earlier in the game.
The Mesa State offense took advantage of the turnover, marched down the field and scored a touchdown for a 14-0 lead.
The Mavericks controlled the game from there, producing a season-high 478 yards in total offense. Mesa had several season-high performances, including rushing yards (218) and passing yards (278).
The defense allowed a season-low 285 yards in total offense and forced a season-high three turnovers.
Mesa State looks to ride the momentum this week when it hosts Fort Lewis (1-3, 0-2 RMAC) for homecoming on Saturday at Stocker Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
“Coach (Ed) Rifilato is one of the best coaches in the RMAC,” Ramunno said. “He’ll have them ready to play.
We have to take care of what we do. They’ll have some sting to them when they play us.”
The Skyhawks opened the season with a 21-0 over Oklahoma Panhandle State, but have lost their last three games, including 30-9 to the Colorado School of Mines on Saturday.
The Orediggers dominated the game from start to finish, producing 415 yards in total offense to the Skyhawks’ 233. Mines converted 7 of 14 third-down conversions as well.
Fort Lewis is led by preseason All-RMAC offensive lineman Aaron Cooper (6-1, 290, senior) and linebacker Mark Meng (6-1, 222, senior).