Mesa faces high-powered foe

For the first time since 2007, the Mesa State College football team isn’t playing a nationally-ranked team in a nonconference game when the Mavs kick off at 1 today at Stocker Stadium.

Missouri Western State University, though, has been receiving votes in the national polls. 

The Griffons (1-0) opened the 2009 season with a 49-14 rout of Northern State (S.D.) University. They are led by junior quarterback Drew Newhart, who threw for a school-record five touchdowns in the victory. Missouri Western State has 20 returning starters, including 10 on offense.

Here are five things to watch for in today’s game:

1) Ball control: Can Mesa State keep Missouri Western’s offense off the field after it produced a school-record 49 first-half points and had more than 400 yards in total offense against Northern State last week?

2) Finishing drives: The Mavericks’ young offense showed it can move the ball last week, but must find a way to score.

3) Turnovers: Part of Mesa’s scoring problem last week was turning the ball over when the Mavs were in scoring position.

4) Establish the run: The offensive production would be aided greatly if one tailback established himself and accumulated big yards.

5) Minimize big returns: Missouri Western has a dangerous return man in Cedric Houston.


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