Bobcats blank CMU
Mavs' offense stalls against No. 3 Montana State
Montana State was too much for the Colorado Mesa University football team.
The No. 3 team in the Football Championship Series (formerly Division I-AA) shut out the Mavericks 26-0 in front of 17,847 fans Saturday afternoon in Bozeman, Mont.
Colorado Mesa (1-1) was shut out one week after shutting out Menlo (Calif.) College 34-0. It was the first time the Mavericks were shut out since the 2012 season finale at Adams State.
“Everybody is disappointed,” CMU coach Russ Martin said. “Honestly, we felt we had a chance to win, yet we also see we can play with anybody. There are some tremendously talented teams and individuals in the RMAC, but we can compete. Is there a silver lining? Yeah, there is. We won’t play teams with as much depth and talent as (the Bobcats).”
Mesa’s defense held up, and the special teams didn’t give up a big return, but the offense didn’t muster much.
“The defense and special teams played really well,” Martin said of the Mavs. “Offensively, we were overmatched, but let’s give them credit. They can play. They have some war daddies (big men ready to battle).”
The Mavericks never got inside the Bobcats’ 20-yard line and were 2 for 15 on third-down conversions. Their only scoring chance was a 51-yard field goal attempt by freshman Tanner Donahue early in the second quarter.
Colorado Mesa was limited to 168 yards of total offense. Jake Cimolino had 92 yards on 15 carries.
“There were a couple plays we missed some checks that resulted in minus yards,” Martin said. “(The Bobcats) have some guys that can flat get after it. They have the ability to create a lot of pressure and were good in the passing game.”
Montana State (2-1) scored 12 points off Colorado Mesa turnovers.
Montana State’s Alex Singleton intercepted Kyle Duran and returned it 23 yards for a touchdown with 5:53 left in the first quarter. The Bobcats’ converted a two-point conversion for an 11-0 lead.
“The first TD they had, Kyle stared down the receiver, and it was a pick-6,” Martin said. “We had a couple dropped balls. We had a chance to keep the offense on the field and get down in the red zone.”
Montana State backup quarterback Jake Bleskin played like a veteran in his first collegiate start, completing 26 of 35 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns.
The sophomore led the Bobcats on a 66-yard drive, completing an 18-yard pass to Brian Flotkoetter for a touchdown with 4:18 left in the first half. Montana State ran for the two-point conversion for a 19-0 lead.
Duran completed five of 16 passes for 41 yards and threw one interception before leaving in the third quarter with back spasms, Martin said. Martin expects Duran to play next week.
Jason Haferman replaced Duran midway through the third quarter and was intercepted on his first series. Haferman was 0 for 2 with one interception.
The Bobcats took advantage of the turnover with Bleskin’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Flotkoetter for the final touchdown.