Mavs spoil Mustangs’ homecoming
The Colorado Mesa University football team might have turned the corner.
The Mavericks scored 24 unanswered points in the second half Saturday to spoil Western New Mexico’s homecoming with a 31-14 victory at Ben Altamirano Stadium in Silver City, N.M.
The Mustangs, who came into the game averaging 40.8 points per game, scored a season low.
“They’ve got some playmakers,” CMU coach Russ Martin said. “Our kids played well defensively. We had some great team tackling and individual tackling.”
Western New Mexico had 432 yards of total offense, nearly 100 below its average, and turned the ball over four times. Two of those turnovers led to touchdowns for the Mavericks.
“(Defensive coordinator Todd) Auer did a great job mixing in pressure and where it came from,” Martin said. “We played with great intensity. The guys are communicating. You can’t take away everything explosive.”
Colorado Mesa (2-4, 2-2 RMAC) struggled to get its offense going and trailed 14-7 at halftime.
The Mavericks’ only first-half score came a couple of plays after Mesa cornerback Jordan Price recovered a Mustangs fumble on a bad snap on a punt. Jake Cimolino scored on a 10-yard run.
“We made a couple minor adjustments at halftime,” Martin said. “It was a night-and-day difference. We had some great execution. It was not so much the play-calling as it was the intensity. The second half we played hard.”
Colorado Mesa opened the second half with an 11-play, 75-yard drive into the end zone. DJ Hubbard caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Jason Haferman to tie the game 14-14 with 9:25 left.
Western New Mexico (3-3, 2-2 RMAC) moved into scoring position on its next possession, but the Mesa defense held, and the Mustangs’ field goal attempt failed.
Mesa picked up a first down on third-and-20 on its next possession when Haferman completed a 20-yard pass to Austin Rodriguez, setting up Hubbard’s 19-yard touchdown catch, giving the Mavericks’ their first lead of the game, 21-14. Hubbard caught four passes for 52 yards.
“Both of those (TD) plays were off play-action,” Martin said. “They were great calls. That’s what we talk about, the ability to run the ball when we’re in the red zone.”
Western New Mexico turned it over again on its next possession in Mesa territory when Mavericks defensive end Justin Brown recovered a fumble.
A few plays later, Cimolino broke his longest run of the day, 31 yards, for a touchdown and a 28-14 lead early in the fourth quarter. Cimolino had 27 carries for 113 yards — his fourth 100-yard game of the season. Mesa rushed for 204 yards as a team.
Haferman’s 20-yard run, accompanied by a Western New Mexico personal foul, set up Caleb Pavy’s 37-yard field goal for a 31-14 lead with 7:52 left on the next possession.
Price intercepted Glasmann in the end zone to seal the game.
Mesa might have lost another player to a season-ending injury in the second half when receiver Nate Neville injured a shoulder.
“It looks like it could be a separation,” Martin said.