Mav Watch: Dixie State at Colorado Mesa
Dixie State (3-3, 3-2 RMAC) at No. 23 Colorado Mesa (5-1, 5-1)
7 tonight, Stocker Stadium
Radio: KTMM (101.1-FM, 1340-AM)
Video streaming: CMUMavericks.com
Last week: Black Hills State 48, Colorado Mesa 34; Dixie State 44, Chadron State 27
Last meeting/series record: Colorado Mesa won the season opener in St. George 43-3 last season and leads the all-time series 17-6-1, including games played when the teams were junior colleges. In the Division II era, Mesa leads 6-1.
Keys to the game
Get Over It: The Mavericks cannot allow themselves to stay in a funk after last week’s loss. “It gives you a little bit of humble pie,” senior defensive back Cody Daniels said. “You have to reflect on it a little bit, but in the morning you have to get up, wake up, dust yourself off and say, ‘All right, let’s start focusing on next week’ so we don’t have a hangover going into Dixie or other weeks.”
Take Me Home Tonight: After four road games in six weeks, the Mavericks have only one more road game in the regular season. “It’s a good feeling, first off,” Daniels said. “We’ve been traveling a lot and now we’ve got four home games, which will be nice with a good crowd, especially homecoming (next weekend), with a packed house. It might put a little more pressure on us to win, but we need to focus and get back to what we need to do.”
R-E-S-P-E-C-T: This is not the same Dixie State team the Mavericks beat by 40 points last season, or the team that started 1-3 this season. Dixie beat Western State the week after the Mountaineers upended Colorado Mines, reinforcing CMU coach Russ Martin’s belief that every team is capable of winning each week. “Maybe there were a few guys who got to the standpoint of thinking we’re unbeatable or invincible,” Martin said. “Well, we’re definitely not invincible or unbeatable; we found that out. It goes back to the same thing we talked about at the start of the year, this conference has gotten stronger, every team is capable of beating any other team. Our challenge is to be the best football team we can be, take care of our business and let the chips fall as they will.”
Bouncin’ Back: The Mavericks put the loss behind them once they reviewed the film Monday morning. “I think it made us realize we’re not an unbeatable team,” senior safety Colby Dixon said. “We can come out and have a bad day and teams can expose us if we don’t play well. I think from here on out we have to focus in and do our jobs, and like Coach said, don’t lose focus of what we can do. It’s just going to focus us that much more.”
Did you know? Dixie State, an affiliate member of the RMAC in football, changed its mascot last spring. When the school was a junior college, the mascot was Rebels, then it was changed to Red Storm during the transition to NCAA Division II status. The mascot is now “Trailblazers” and the logo features a charging buffalo head. ... Dixie State is 0-10 all-time against teams ranked in the AFCA top 25. ... Running back DeJon Coleman is fifth in career rushing yards at Dixie with 1,120, 265 off the school record. He’s also one off the school career touchdown record with 13. ... David Tann leads CMU in rushing with 355 yards and seven touchdowns. Mesa has its best rushing game of the season last week, with 307 yards in the loss. The previous best was 188 yards in the opener at Western State. Tann had 121 yards and backup quarterback Eystin Salum 132 against the Yellow Jackets. ... Mesa’s receivers average 14.5 yards a catch and 287.3 yards per game. ... With the mounting injuries to the defense, especially in the secondary, Ollie Olson has moved back to defense at weak-side linebacker. He started his career as a linebacker but moved to running back last season. He’s listed as a backup to Cody Daniels this week. Colby Dixon is listed as the starting strong safety with Dustin Rivas still slowed by a leg injury. Rivas caught some punts Tuesday at practice, but was not a full participant. Jackson Burrell, who has dealt with an ankle injury since the second week of the season, is listed as a backup at both cornerback spots behind George Manning and Antonio Clark.
Martin-izing: “I shared with the coaches, if at the start of the year we said, ‘OK, at this point we’re gonna be 5-1’ and change who the loss was to, all of a sudden, everything seems to be a whole lot better. We’re 5-1.”
— Patti Arnold