Colorado Mesa Football Preview
Colorado Mesa (5-2, 4-1 RMAC) vs. Colorado Mines (4-3, 3-2 RMAC)
Kickoff: 1 p.m., Saturday, Stocker Stadium.
On the Air: 1230-AM (KEXO).
Internet: Visit http://www.cmumavericks.com for live stats and streaming video. Follow Allen Gemaehlich (@allen_gjsports) for live in-game analysis.
Colorado Mesa routed Fort Lewis 42-0 in Durango for its fourth straight victory. Mines lost 48-28 to third-ranked CSU-Pueblo in Pueblo.
The Mavericks lead 28-9, including 14-2 at home. Mines has won the past four meetings, including a 34-7 win last year in Golden.
About Colorado Mines
■ The Orediggers have finished with a winning record for six consecutive seasons — the second longest stretch in the RMAC.
■ Mines LB Kole Kadavy is the younger brother of former Mesa linebackers Ryan and Kyle Kadavy.
■ The Orediggers’ offense ranks sixth in the nation, averaging 539.7 yards per game, seventh in passing offense (349.7 yards per game) and 18th in scoring offense (41.3 points per game).
■ Mines is first in the RMAC in fourth-down conversions (67.9 percent) and first in the RMAC in time of possession (34 minutes, 16 seconds).
■ The Orediggers have 16 returning defensive players from last season.
What Mines Coach Bob Stitt says
■ On last week’s loss: “We came out and played pretty well. We had a chance to take a lead 14-10 and got a phantom call that ended up costing us points. It was a momentum killer. (CSU-Pueblo is) a great football team. We had a tough time stopping them. They are every bit of third in the nation.”
■ On changing QBs this season: “We felt like it made us a better football team having Matt Brown at wide receiver. That was a decision I made. You’ve got to make a decision (about) what makes you the best football team. We needed more help at receiver. Matt didn’t like it, but he wants to win.”
■ On Colorado Mesa: “I think they are a much improved football team. Being around those coaches a second year makes a huge difference. They have a great staff we respect. It’s a team we’re going to have to earn it.”
■ On CMU’s offense: “They are much improved (passing). You have to worry about their run game. Coach (Bob) Benson is aware of them being more balanced.”
About Colorado Mesa
■ The Mavericks lead the nation in red-zone defense (.476), are tied for first in Division II with 17 interceptions and are seventh in scoring defense (14.4).
■ Quarterback Aric Kaiser set season-highs for pass completions (18) and yards (255) in last week’s victory. CMU also set season-highs for passing yards (258) and total offense (452).
■ Junior Nate Neville became the first CMU wide receiver this season to have more than 100 receiving yards in a game and the first since Robert Felberg had 127 against New Mexico Highlands in 2012.
■ Junior cornerback Jordan Price leads the RMAC and is fourth in the nation in interceptions with five. His 55-yard interception return last week was the longest by a CMU player this season.
■ Mesa had two penalties last week. It is averaging 62.7 penalty yards per game, second fewest in the RMAC.
■ The Mavericks have thrown six touchdown passes in the past two games after only five TD passes in the first five.
What Coach Russ Martin says
■ On CMU QB Aric Kaiser: “Aric has given us a little bit more dimension of throwing the ball down field. What’s been interesting is different guys are stepping up. We have 10 guys with six or more catches and five with 10 or more.”
■ On Mines: “Our players are focused in at practice. We’ve got to be aware of what Mines does. Coach Stitt has done a great job there. They are a well-coached football team.”
■ On Mines’ defense: “Defensively, Coach (Bob) Benson is a good coach. He brings a variety of pressures. He does a lot of things behind it. It makes it difficult for teams to sustain drives on a consistent basis. Our guys have to be prepared.”
■ On Mines’ QBs: “Their quarterbacks are both good runners. Whether they have Schneider or Brown in there. You’ve got to maintain your pass lanes. They do a good job with the stuff they do.”
■ On last year’s loss to Mines: “We can’t have seven turnovers. We also gave them a short field and had several dumb penalties. They won the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, and they have a lot of those same guys back.”