Mavs’ new offense struggles against Humboldt State
The new start with the new offense had the hype, but lacked the punch.
Colorado Mesa University didn’t even score a touchdown Thursday night in its season opener.
Humboldt State (Calif.) University humbled Colorado Mesa University 29-3 in front of 2,876 on Thursday night at Stocker Stadium.
“We struggled to say the least,” Mesa coach Joe Ramunno said. “I thought early we came out and did a couple good things. We didn’t execute the way I thought we would. I’m disappointed in that.”
The Mavericks (0-1) were limited to one field goal and 245 yards in total offense. The field goal was one of only two trips inside the Humboldt 20 and came late in the first quarter.
Mesa didn’t move into scoring territory again until 2:53 was left in the game. The Mavericks missed a field goal.
“I felt like we had some movement in the first quarter, but they stopped us in plus territory,” Mesa senior receiver Tanner Whaley said. “We wanted to come back the next drive and get something going, but we had third and shorts and we were jumping offsides.
“It was there. We just didn’t execute as well as we wanted to. I’m super excited about the offense still.”
Whaley led the Mavericks with 5 catches for 58 yards, but the Mavs couldn’t break away for a big play.
The Mavericks were forced to pass several times when they weren’t able to get their running game going with Jake Cimolino, who had 16 carries for 44 yards. Quarterback Robert Felberg had 11 carries for 35 yards.
Colorado Mesa’s longest pass went 23 yards. The longest run was 19, but the average play was less than 4 yards.
“A couple of times we held the ball too long,” Ramunno said. “Some of it is timing, especially when you run something new. I could make a lot of excuses, but we’ve got to (improve the timing).”
Mesa was 3 of 15 on third-down conversions and had eight penalties for 43 yards.
“We got ourselves in some second and longs,” Ramunno said. “We were bad on third downs. We talked as a team that was something that needs to change.”
Felberg started for the Mavericks, but was replaced by Chris Henderson late in the second quarter. Felberg returned in the second half, but neither one was effective.
“We wanted to get a change of pace,” Ramunno said. “I wanted to get some guys some reps. If we’re not having production, we’ve got to do something to get a spark going.”
Felberg completed 6 of 11 passes for 88 yards and had one fumble. Henderson, a redshirt freshman, was 6 of 11 for 33 yards.
“We all know that’s the most difficult position on the field,” Whaley said. “Humboldt did a good job of mixing it up a little bit. The man (defense) is hard to sort out in a quick amount of time when you have guys rushing you, but we have faith in the guys. We just need to convert on third downs. There’s no excuse for that.”
Humboldt didn’t have much trouble moving the ball, scoring a touchdown on its first possession after starting at its own 1-yard line. The Lumberjacks got out of the mess with a pass down the sideline into Mesa territory.
A few plays later, Lyndon Rowells scored on a 3-yard run. The point-after attempt, though, was blocked by Justin Brown, who returned it to midfield before he was caught.
“I ran out of gas,” Brown said.
“It was a great turn of events for our defense,” Mesa defensive end Connor Wright said. “To get scored on, then respond like that is what we’re about. That’s what the coaches tell us to do.”
Mesa took the kickoff, moved the ball downfield and got a Caleb Pavy 36-yard field goal to trail 6-3.
Humboldt responded with a 52-yard drive, taking advantage of a pass interference penalty, to set up a Tommy Darcey 7-yard pass from Mike Proulx for a 13-3 lead.
The Lumberjacks added a field goal for a 16-3 halftime lead, then added to their lead with a touchdown drive to start the second half.
Proulx, who completed 21 of 35 passes for 366 yards and two touchdowns, took advantage of a young Mesa secondary. He completed two passes on third downs to keep the drive alive before hitting Dirk Dallas for a 24-yard score.
Humboldt added two more field goals in the third quarter.
“When you have a bunch of young guys like that, that’s how you get baptized a little bit and learn from it,” Ramunno said. “That’s something we’re going to see.”
Wright and Brown, though, took the blame for giving up so many passing yards.
“Absolutely,” Wright said. “Those are mostly on the D-line for not getting enough pressure on them.”
“Everyone has to look in the mirror at the end of the day and say what they could’ve done better,” Brown said.