Mavs show their fight
Salum accounts for six TDs as Mesa rebounds from loss to Pueblo
Of his three rushing touchdowns Saturday, the 5-yard TD was perhaps the most impressive for Colorado Mesa quarterback Eystin Salum.
“He ripped off my sleeve,” Salum said, grinning as he tugged on his ripped undershirt after the Mavericks’ 49-37 victory over Black Hills State at Stocker Stadium.
The Mavericks took advantage of a bad snap on a Black Hills punt and took possession inside the red zone with 4:09 left in the third quarter.
After a pass interference call put the ball at the 5, Salum kept the ball around the left end and headed for the corner. He was hit about the 2, spun around, his back to the goal line, and dragged a Black Hills linebacker into the end zone with him.
“I lift every day, you know? I lift in the spring; they think I’m skinny, but I lift,” the slender 6-foot-1, 185-pound QB laughed, as lineman Ty Leonard verified that yes, the QB is a regular in the weight room. “They think I’m skinny, but then I bring a little punch.”
Salum wasn’t the only one fighting for yardage to get the No. 21 Mavs back on track after losing at CSU-Pueblo last week.
Peter Anderson’s 40-yard touchdown reception was something you can’t rep in practice.
He streaked down the sideline on a go route and caught the ball at about the 15. He was hit at the 11, but somehow stayed on his feet, stumbling the rest of the way.
“At that point I was just hoping nobody else would hit me,” Anderson said. “I figure if somebody else would have touched me, I would have fallen over. I was going to put my hand on the ground to catch myself but I felt like I had (my balance). I knew I was near the end zone, like the 3 or 4, so I just jumped.”
That came only 1 minute, 16 seconds into the game, and it seemed the Mavericks (5-1, 5-1 RMAC) were off and running, especially after the defense had a quick series.
Virnel Moon turned a slant into a 53-yard catch and run to set up Salum’s first rushing TD, from 12 yards out, picking up a block from running back David Tann at the 5.
A sack by Blake Nelson, one of his 3 1/2, plus four tackles for lost yardage for the senior defensive end, helped force Black Hills (3-3, 3-3) to attempt a field goal, which missed.
Late in the first quarter, the Mavericks were back on the attack, with Moon picking up 17 yards — he caught five passes for 113 yards and one TD.
Salum threw a swing pass to Justin Brown, who broke a tackle at the 10 and dove over the goal line for his first touchdown of the season.
“I figured I could be the guy running the corner and getting to the end zone, so that’s what I did,” Brown said. “I just wanted to get points on the board for my team.”
Salum completed 15 of 27 passes for 275 yards, throwing to six different receivers.
“I can depend on those guys to be where they’re supposed to be,” Salum said. “They want the ball, so of course they’re going to be where they’re supposed to be.”
Black Hills came off the mat a couple of times, scoring back-to-back touchdowns to cut the 21-0 lead to 21-14, converting after a tipped pass was intercepted and then forcing the Mavs to punt after sacking Salum inside the 5. Mesa could have started with good field position after Moon’s return, but a holding call put the ball on the CMU 10.
Still, the Mavs punched back. David Tann started left, cut back to his right and outran the defense for a 49-yard touchdown with 4:10 to play in the first half, and Moon ran a slant into the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown with 29 seconds to play in the first half.
Black Hills quarterback Ryan Hommel, who threw 74 passes (he completed 40 for 460 yards), scrambled and threw a Hail Mary on the final play of the half. Garrett Reece-Scott knocked the ball down at the 2 and CMU had a 35-14 halftime lead.
After kicking a field goal on its first possession of the second half, Black Hills recovered a fumble at the 24, but after a long drive, the Mavs blocked a field goal attempt.
On third and 5 from the 32, Salum was hit after releasing a long pass downfield, and Jarrell Ganaway was called for roughing the passer and targeting. He was ejected from the game.
Salum wasn’t affected by the late hit — on the next play, he broke away for a 54-yard touchdown run.
Salum rushed for 118 yards, but was sacked three times for 34 yards, finishing with 84 rushing yards, three rushing TDs and three more passing.
As the Yellow Jackets have done all season, they rallied in the fourth quarter, putting up 20 points, mainly against the second-team defense, to make things really interesting.
“They have a lot of skill players and their quarterback is very talented,” CMU coach Russ Martin said. “We gave them a couple of short fields; you can’t give them that many short fields because they converted.
“They’re a very good football team, but so are we.”
Mainly, the Mavs were happy to celebrate a win again.
“As long as we got the W,” said cornerback Antonio Clark, who had seven tackles and broke up five passes. “It felt good to get back in the win column. Last week was tough to swallow.”
Still, they know they have work to do.
“I guess we just got complacent,” Clark said. “That’s something we have to work on. Our motto is ‘Leave No Doubt’ and we definitely left some doubt today.”