It is the game of the season.

Putting it any other way would downplay how important the upcoming match between Colorado State University-Pueblo and Colorado Mesa University is. The No. 8 Mavericks take to the road to face the No. 17 Thunderwolves. After Saturday’s game, only one team will remain undefeated in the RMAC Conference.

Adding to the hype is how last season’s game ended. A goal-line stand separated CSU-Pueblo from another victory. The Mavericks want to prove last season wasn’t a fluke. Their opponent would love nothing more than to prove it was.

With a game that has the potential to be won by one or two plays, there are some major keys to this game for CMU if they want to once again be victorious.

3. Avoid Simple Mistakes

Sounds simple, right? Don’t make mistakes you shouldn’t and force opponents to beat you by proving who the better team is. CMU had some costly penalties throughout the game two weeks ago against Colorado School of Mines, they can’t afford to replicate. No holding penalty during a field goal and no facemask penalty after the defense stop the opposition on fourth-and-one. The worst part about those mistakes was it let the Orediggers back into a game they had no business being competitive in. Against CSU-Pueblo, they can’t afford to make those mistakes and expect to remain unbeaten.

2. Force the Offense’s Hand

The Thunderwolves have a balanced offense, but most of their offense goes through a run game averaging 292 yards each contest. The good news for the Mavericks? They only give up an average of 135 yards per game rushing. The key here for the Mavericks is to force the Thunderwolves to be a one-dimensional team on the offensive side of the ball. Make quarterback Brandon Edwards throw the ball often. He’s only had 77 attempts all season, so forcing him to be the hero is the best route for this defense to go.

1. Utilize Your Threat At Quarterback

Want to talk about playing hero? This game could be a career highlight for Eystin Salum. The quarterback is a dual-threat, proving it against Fort Lewis, where he ran for 164 yards. If the offensive line can give Salum space, he has the talent to escape the pocket and run for a big gain. If he’s able to do that, the defense will have to be kept honest. Against the Skyhawks, Salum had only had 18 pass attempts and he made the most of it. Utilize the talents you have, in both aspects of offense and limit the chance for mistakes, then you’ll have a great chance to make a massive statement on the road.

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