Mavericks move up to No. 11 in D-II football poll

Colorado Mesa wants to be a top-10 football program.

The Mavericks are knocking on the door, ranked No. 11 in the American Football Coaches Association poll released Monday.

After knocking off Chadron State 24-10 on Saturday, the Mavericks (2-0) climbed six spots in the poll, receiving 453 votes. It wasn’t the prettiest game, with the Mavericks giving up 515 yards of total offense, but only one touchdown. The Eagles ran 98 plays, the Mavericks 84, and the defense scored the first touchdown when George Manning returned an interception 55 yards in the first quarter.

The best part, other than getting out of Chadron with a victory, Mesa coach Russ Martin said, is the Mavericks got out of Chadron without injury. A couple of players dealt with some cramping on the hot, muggy day, but that was about it, he said, and injuries in the opener to outside linebackers Carlos Aviles (ankle) and Blake Brockett (elbow) weren’t as serious as first feared.

Injuries in the first five games of last season took their toll on the Mavericks, who still won the RMAC championship and reached the Division II playoffs.

The top six in the national poll remained the same, with defending national champion Northwest Missouri State holding off Washburn University (Kansas) 20-14 to stay undefeated and be voted a unanimous No. 1.

Ferris State (Michigan) remained No. 2, followed by Texas A&M-Commerce, which knocked CMU out of the playoffs last season, at No. 3, Shepherd (West Virginia) No. 4, California (Pennsylvania) No. 5 and Indiana (Pennsylvania) No. 6.

CSU-Pueblo fell from No. 7 to No. 18 after losing for the second consecutive year to West Texas A&M, this time 24-21 on a field goal with eight seconds to play. The Buffs, picked to finished seventh in the Lone Star Conference, received 18 votes in the national poll.

Colorado Mines, which crushed New Mexico Highlands 70-0 after losing to CSU-Pueblo in the opener, received 11 votes ahead of Saturday’s key RMAC game against the Mavericks at Stocker Stadium.

The Mavs will try to win the Nyikos Cup for the third straight year. It took two overtimes and a blocked extra point for CMU to win in Golden last season.

The other big upset in Division II came when former RMAC school Fort Hays State shocked then-No. 13 Central Missouri 35-6 for a 2-0 start in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association. That win moved the Tigers into the rankings at No. 21, and dropped Central Missouri out.


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