100920-CMU football 4-CPT

Christopher Tomlinson/The Daily Sentinel

Colorado Mesa’s Jesse Rodriguez rushed for 173 yards — including two runs of longer than 60 yards — and a TD in the Mavs’ 10-7 win in their season opener. The running back will be key today against a Black Hills State team that allowed 281 yards rushing last week.

Colorado Mesa (1-0) at Black Hills State (0-1)

Saturday, noon, Spearfish, S.D.

Radio: KTMM (101.1-FM). Video: CMUMavericks.com

Last week: Colorado Mesa 10, Chadron State 7, OT; SD Mines 34, Black Hills State 17

Last meeting: CMU 58, BHSU 21, Oct. 26, 2019, Stocker Stadium

Series: CMU leads 6-2. Mavericks have not won in Spearfish since 2014.

CMU players to watch: RB Jesse Rodriguez (176 yards, 22 carries, 1 TD), QB Aaron Howard (17-37-1-118); WR BJ Brown (4 catches, 27 yards); LB Greyson Matalus (15 tackles, .5 sacks, 1 PBU); LB Bryan Bowen (12 tackles, 2 sacks)

BHSU players to watch: RB Nolan Susel (19 carries, 63 yards, 1 TD); QB Chance Eben (7-28-1-100, 1 TD); ILB Ryder Blair (13 tackles, 1 fumble recovery); K/P Jacob Parks (6 punts, 48.3 avg.; 1-1 FG, 2-2 PAT)

Scouting report: Look for both teams to improve in their second game of the season. CMU’s offense moved the ball against Chadron State, but couldn’t convert in the red zone, something Howard said he has to change. Running back Isaac Maestas, who injured his right arm on the first play of the game, is not listed on this week’s depth chart, with Rodriguez the starter. CMU does not comment on injuries. Defensively, coach Tremaine Jackson said there were some missed coverages last week, but CMU got good pressure up front to disrupt plays, and overall said the defense was outstanding. The Yellow Jackets gave up 281 yards rushing in a loss at South Dakota Mines last week, but forced three fumbles and recovered two. Black Hills was down 24-7 at one point but cut it to a seven-point game in the third quarter before giving up 10 points in the fourth in the loss.

Did you know? Jackson was on the same staff as several members of the Yellow Jackets’ new coaching staff, including head coach Josh Breske, at the University of Sioux Falls. … The Mavericks will be wearing extra protective equipment on the 10-hour bus ride. Everyone on the trip will wear N95 masks plus face shields or goggles on the bus. CMU will take a third bus in order to spread out more on the trip, and everyone will have assigned seats in case contact tracing is needed. The team takes COVID-19 tests every Wednesday. Jackson joked that the Mavs will “look like a bunch of Martians rolling out of here.” … The weather could get interesting in Spearfish, with the forecast calling for a high of 43 degrees with a 60% chance of precipitation, including a chance of snow. … Only 10 NCAA Division II teams are playing football this fall, five in the RMAC. … CMU linebacker Greyson Matalus was selected the RMAC defensive player of the week and BHSU kicker Jacob Parks the special teams player of the week.

He said it: Jackson, a self-described “energy guy,” was taken aback by how excited the Mavericks were before last week’s game. “They were nuts. I’ve never seen a group of guys in the locker room, even Lucas (Ruiz Diaz, Mesa’s kicker) was nuts. He’s calm most of the time. It goes to show you the excitement these guys have, they want to prove they’re not the same team. To get to that day with everything it took to get to that day, I knew the first quarter was going to be a melting pot of emotions and we were going to have to settle down so we could play. ... The first quarter was like a heavyweight fight, everybody was geeked up and we just kind of had to slow down.”

— Patti Arnold

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