One more game before the real fun begins.  One more test on the road before the chance to show off in the playoffs; yet it all can be ruined in just this one game.

The Colorado Mesa University football team will be traveling to Azusa Pacific University (APU) to take on the Cougars for the second year in a row for the regular season finale.

The Mavericks recently crowned themselves as the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) Champions and can be the sole owner of that title if CSU-Pueblo loses on Saturday against Chadron State.

CMU can also make their claim for a playoff game for a consecutive year if they win against Azusa Pacific on Saturday. CMU currently sits at 9-1 overall and hold the sixth seed in the Super Regional Four power rankings for the NCAA Division II National Playoffs

Bryce Reedy | The Criterion

“Part of our goal has not been just to win a conference championship but get back into the playoffs,” Head coach Russ Martin said. “We want a chance to redeem ourselves in a playoff situation.”

The Mavericks should have all the confidence in the world as they ride a five game winning streak and have scored 216 points in the last three weeks alone against Adams State, New Mexico Highlands and South Dakota Mines.

Eystin Salum and David Tann both makeup the key weapons for the Mavericks as they have combined for 49 touchdowns this season as a unit.  

Salum leads the RMAC in rushing yards and touchdowns as a quarterback with 812 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. He also has thrown for 2,338 yards and 19 touchdowns.  

The Mavericks offense will be their best chance to overthrow the Cougars who give up 20.7 points per game on defense. Their offense however, does score on average 39.90 points per game so it would not be a surprise if there is an offensive shootout between the CMU and APU.  

“I think right now our guys are very confident,” Martin said. “Every game is critical and they know that.”

The Cougars quarterback, Andrew Eiffers, has thrown for 2235 yards and 17 touchdowns this season; he also has added eight more scores on the ground. Both the Mavericks and the Cougars run similar offensive with alike offensive weapons.  

This game could very well come down to big plays which would be in favor of the Mavericks who have blocked four kicks in the last two weeks alone and forced eight turnovers in the last two weeks.

“We’re not ready to be done,” Martin said.

If the Mavericks can take care of business against the Cougars on Saturday, the would seal a spot in the NCAA Division II Playoffs and will look to redeem their lose last year in the first round against Texas A&M-Commerce.  

Last season the Mavericks were in a similar situation as they faced off against APU for the first time ever and ended their 2016 regular season with a win, defeating the Cougars 33-24

The game will take place in Azusa, Calif. At 7 p.m.

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Matt Kennedy
Matt Kennedy is a sophomore mass communication major from Colorado Springs. He is in his second year with The Criterion, has served as the assistant sports editor and is now sports editor. Kennedy went to Doherty High School where he wrote for his school paper for three years and he aspires to continue in the sports journalism field after graduation to pursue a career as a sportscaster.

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