Colorado Mesa football preview
COLORADO MESA (1-0) at MONTANA STATE (1-1)
Kickoff: 1:05 p.m., Saturday, Bobcat Stadium, Bozeman, Mont.
On the Air: 1230-AM (KEXO), Altitude Sports TV (48).
Internet: Visit http://www.cmumavericks.com for live stats and streaming video.
Colorado Mesa defeated Menlo (Calif.) College 34-0 for its first season-opening win since 2007. Montana State lost 31-30 at Division I FBS Southern Methodist.
Montana State leads the all-time series 2-1 with all three games played in Bozeman, Mont. CMU won the last meeting 41-7 in 1988.
About Montana State
■ Montana State is ranked No. 3 in the latest Division I Football Championship Series poll. The Bobcats’ streak of 32 straight weeks in the top 10 (counting last year’s postseason poll) is longer than any other string of consecutive weeks in the top 25 in school history.
■ All-American quarterback DeNarius McGhee is out with a shoulder injury. His 31 wins and 72 career TD passes are MSU records. His 9,574 passing yards is second in school history. Sophomore Jake Bleskin makes his first career start in place of McGhee.
■ The Bobcats are averaging 469.5 yards and 36 points per game. They are rushing for 226.5 yards per game.
■ Montana State has four defensive starters out with injuries.
■ Former Chadron State running back Danny Woodhead is the last opposing player to rush for more than 200 yards against Montana State. He did it in 2006.
Montana State coach Rob Ash says:
■ On starting his backup quarterback: “It’s great to have a capable and experienced backup like Jake (Bleskin). He had his whole redshirt year, and last year was terrific for him. He was always ready. He’s traveled and been in games. What he needs is to get out there when the bullets are flying and get the first jittery play or two out of the way, and he’ll be fine.”
About the Mavericks
■ Redshirt freshman quarterback Kyle Duran will start for the Mavericks in place of Aric Kaiser, who is out with a knee injury. Duran completed 16 of 29 passes for 142 yards and ran for one touchdown last week in his first collegiate game. Kaiser is out two to four weeks with a knee injury.
■ Senior defensive end Will Harvey is out again this week with a hernia. Ryan Sivetts will move to defensive end, and Cody Daniels will start at nickel back.
■ Freshman offensive lineman Mitch Wehrli is out with a concussion. Sophomore Jeff Berghorn will start in Wehrli’s spot.
■ Jake Cimolino rushed for 120 yards last week and ranks fourth all-time in career rushing yards at CMU with 2,459. He needs 376 yards to move into third place.
■ The attendance for Mesa’s home opener (5,312) was the program’s largest in more than a decade.
■ At least 15 players (transfers, redshirt freshmen and freshmen) made their debut with the Mavericks last week.
Colorado Mesa coach Russ Martin says:
■ About Montana State: “They’re obviously a very good football team. They are No. 3 in the nation for a reason. It’s not overnight success. They will be the most talented team with the most depth than anybody we’ll play this year. They’re really solid all the way around.
“What they’re doing there is what we want to do here, build a program that is consistently good. You want a team that is 7-4 or 8-3 in your down years.”
■ About Montana State’s quarterback: “We saw (Bleskin) play a quarter against Monmouth,” Martin said. “They were quite a ways up in that game. He’s capable of throwing the ball well. I don’t think they’re going to change a whole lot of what they do. I think he fits very well (in) what they do.”
“We’re not game-planning any different. They’ve got great experience in their offensive line. They’re not going to change what they do. They’ve got good receivers and an outstanding tailback.”
■ About the Mavericks’ quarterback situation with Aric Kaiser out with a knee injury: “That’s one of the reasons in fall camp the first 10-11 days we worked three quarterbacks, because I don’t want to be stuck in a situation an injury dooms you because nobody has any reps. Kyle (Duran) stepped in last week and did a very good job for us. Both of those guys (Duran and senior Jason Haferman) are ready go to this week.”
■ About the key to success for the Mavericks this week: “We need to play within ourselves. It’s no different. We’ve got to take care of the football, be fundamentally sound, sustain blocks, and we’ve got to tackle well. It doesn’t matter the opponent. We need to play within our system. Sometimes guys think they’ve got to play above their level. All of a sudden they try too hard. We have to play within ourselves and play like we’re capable of playing.”