Mavericks do enough for victory, look ahead
The Mesa State College football team kept its RMAC title hopes alive Saturday thanks to a couple of big defensive stops and execution on offense during pivotal times.
After Mesa State (4-2, 4-0 RMAC) held the Colorado School of Mines (4-2, 3-1 RMAC) to a field goal,
Mesa State running back Bobby Coy ran for a 43-yard touchdown to give the Mavericks a 27-24 victory.
“A lot of credit goes to Mines,” Mesa State coach Joe Ramunno said. “They played hard. I’m proud of our guys and the way they responded in all three phases. We didn’t play like we wanted to, but any victory in this conference is a good victory.”
A couple of Mesa State special teams mistakes, penalties and turnovers gave Mines an opportunity to defeat the Mavericks for the first time in four years.
Mines returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown to change the momentum going into halftime.
Mesa also fumbled a kickoff return, but Mines couldn’t take advantage of it.
The Mavericks had nine penalties for 82 yards, including a helmet-to-helmet personal foul to give Mines a first down on its first offensive scoring drive of the game.
The Orediggers scored their only other touchdown after recovering a Mesa fumble in Mines territory.
Mesa did lose senior defensive end Nic Pade to a knee injury. He will be re-evaluated this week.
Despite their struggles, Coy and the Mavericks’ defense did enough for a victory.
Coy rushed for 199 yards and two touchdowns as Mesa State held the ball for nearly 37 of the game’s 60 minutes. The offensive line not only opened holes for Coy, it protected quarterback Phil Vigil from being mauled.
Mesa State’s offensive line came into the game allowing the most sacks in the RMAC and faced a Mines team that led the nation in sacks last year. However, the Mavs surrendered only four sacks on the day.
When Mesa’s offense wasn’t on the field, the Mavs defense stuffed the Mines running attack and took away many of quarterback David Pesek’s targets. The RMAC’s leading receiver, Adam Saur, was limited to two catches for 36 yards.
Instead of blitzing Pesek, the Mavericks dropped two to three linebackers back in pass coverage and were able to break up five passes. Cody Walker recorded one sack.
Mesa State limited the Orediggers to 41 rushing yards and 219 yards in total offense. The Mavericks may need another strong defensive performance when they host CSU-Pueblo (2-3, 1-3 RMAC) at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Stocker Stadium.
“CSU-Pueblo is a solid team,” Ramunno said. “They have done a phenomenal job. They can beat anybody. They took Mines to overtime and beat Fort Lewis soundly. They are well coached and play with a lot of passion.
“They have a staff under Coach (John) Wristen with Div. I experience. Their facilities are great. It has a lot to do with the community. They’ve jumped on board with it.”
The ThunderWolves program, which was restarted this year after a 24-year hiatus, got off to a good start, defeating Oklahoma Panhandle State 24-13 then Fort Lewis 37-7, but has since lost their last three games. Nebraska-Kearney took advantage of five turnovers to defeat CSU-Pueblo 41-10 on Saturday in Pueblo.