Mavs grow despite loss to Cowboys
Colorado Mesa University’s football team had another heart-breaker, but a lot of good came out of the 40-36 loss to New Mexico Highlands.
The Mavericks (1-4, 1-2 RMAC) set season highs in several offensive categories: points (36), total offense (465 yards), passing yards (214) and rushing yards (251).
Sophomore running back Jake Cimolino led the way with a career-best 233 rushing yards. It was his sixth 100-yard game of his career.
He is eighth in the nation in rushing yards per game with 140.8 and only needs 270 yards to equal his freshman season total.
“We ran the ball quite well,” CMU coach Russ Martin said. “(The Cowboys) were doing a little more to take away the quarterback run, which is fine. From that standpoint, that opened up some of the play-action.
“We hit some big things on that. We need to continue to do that.”
Although Cimolino’s numbers stood out, other individuals put up season bests.
Quarterback Jason Haferman threw a season-high 31 passes, completing 15, for a season-best 214 yards.
“Jason keeps getting better,” Martin said. “That’s what we want. It’s more time in our system, more reps.”
Tight end Robert Felberg had his best day this season, catching four passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
Colorado Mesa moved wide receiver Turmour Battle to cornerback last week to keep up with the Cowboys’ speedy receivers.
Although Battle was beaten on one touchdown, the Mavericks’ defense kept Highlands from completing deep passes for the most part.
Battle took Travis McRae’s spot. McRae moved to safety.
“It’s kind of a deal, overall, we did a good job of taking away the bombs, but we still need to put ourselves in position to make a couple more plays,” Martin said. “We had a chance to tip a couple away. We had a chance when they bobbled a couple of them to run through them.
“Our guys are playing hard. They’re giving us a great effort, but sometimes our technique could be better.”
Battle will move back to wide receiver this week, Martin said, with McRae playing cornerback.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Deke Cisco was cleared to play last weekend, but didn’t play.
“Deke is getting better,” Martin said. “He’ll take a few reps (this week). We’ll see. We’re tentatively hoping we can have him at least for a few package deals or a few series.”
Part of the reason he didn’t play was because of Haferman’s play.
“We’re very pleased with what Jason is doing,” Martin said. “I’m not too sure we won’t use both of them. They’ll both be ready, I think. They both have shown they’re growing in our system.
“Deke kept getting better and better. He was definitely at his best against Chadron. Jason was much better against Highlands.”
Sophomore wide receiver and kicker Alex Zemezonak bruised his kicking leg in the game and was replaced by Caleb Pavy, but continued to play some at receiver.
“We’ll probably take him out of the kicking role this week and have Caleb do it,” Martin said.
Zemezonak is practicing this week and will likely play at wide receiver.
Thomas Sua remains sidelined with nerve pressure in his neck. He is day-to-day.
Colorado Mesa is back on the road this week at Western New Mexico. Kickoff is 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Mustangs (3-2, 2-1 RMAC) are coming off a 54-28 victory over Colorado School of Mines in Golden.