Offense stalls for Mavs
Colorado Mesa’s defense and special teams created some opportunities, but the offense couldn’t take advantage of them.
The Mavericks forced four turnovers, but also turned it over four times in a 34-6 loss to third-ranked CSU-Pueblo in RMAC football Saturday night at the DeRose ThunderBowl in Pueblo. It was the ThunderWolves’ 29th consecutive conference victory.
The ThunderWolves (9-0, 7-0 RMAC) had a balanced offense with 240 yards rushing and 271 passing, and they limited Mesa to 275 yards of total offense. CSU-Pueblo quarterback Chris Bonner completed 23 of 35 passes for 271 yards. Chris Ashe had 28 carries for 170 yards and two touchdowns.
Colorado Mesa (5-4, 4-3 RMAC) tried all three of its quarterbacks but was unable to get into a rhythm.
Senior Jason Haferman started for Aric Kaiser, who was suspended for the first half for violating team rules, and completed four of six passes for negative two yards. Kyle Duran led the Mavericks to their only score in the second quarter, but he threw two interceptions. Kaiser entered in the third quarter and completed one pass and was pulled for Duran in the fourth.
Jake Cimolino was the Mavs’ bright spot on offense, rushing for 114 yards.
The ThunderWolves immediately took advantage of Mesa’s ineffectiveness, converting a turnover on Mesa’s first play from scrimmage into an 8-yard touchdown run by Ashe.
Mesa’s special teams got involved when Ryan Lendrum blocked a punt in Pueblo territory, but Tanner Donahue missed a 38-yard field goal.
Duran replaced Haferman on Mesa’s fourth possession and was intercepted. That led to a CSU-Pueblo field goal and a 10-0 lead late in the first quarter.
Mesa defensive back Cody Daniels intercepted Bonner near midfield on the ThunderWolves’ next possession, and the Mavericks cashed it in for a touchdown.
Central High School graduate Blaine Jackson caught his first collegiate touchdown on a 7-yard reception from Duran.
The Mavericks moved deep into Pueblo territory on a 44-yard run by Cimolino, but they turned the ball over on downs.
The ThunderWolves scored on an Ashe 6-yard run for a 17-6 lead. They had a chance to score again, but Mesa safety Michael Brady intercepted Bonner at the Mesa 10-yard line with 33 seconds left in the first half.
CSU-Pueblo opened the second half with a field goal for a 20-6 lead, but Brady intercepted Bonner again.
Mesa attempted to go for it on fourth down on consecutive possessions in the third quarter and was unsuccessful each time. Duran threw an incomplete pass, and Brady came up one yard shy on a fake punt attempt.
Darius Millines scored on a 56-yard run, and Bonner took advantage of an interception in Mesa territory and threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to DeVaughn Thornton.