The saying “You are just as good as your weakest link” applies very significantly to the Colorado Mesa University’s football team.
The Mavericks are currently second in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference standings, with a 5-1 record as they are about to head into the second half of their season. CMU’s first and only loss came at the hands of CSU-Pueblo two weeks back, but the Mavericks were able to rebound the following week with a win against Black Hills State.
During the game against BHS, CMU initially appeared to sweep the floor with the Yellow Jackets as they were in the fourth quarter with a 49-17 lead. At this point in the game, Head coach Russ Martin pulled the majority of his starters from the game and placed the backups in the position to close out the win.
The Yellow Jackets would go on to score 20 unanswered points the fourth quarter alone, producing more yards offensively in the one quarter than they have the entire game. The problem lies within the question. “What happened when the backups were put into the game?”
CMU possess a very talented roster, which produces high caliber stats. Eystin Salum and Blake Nelson both received RMAC Players of the Week for their performances against BHS, yet once Nelson got pulled from the game to rest, the opposing offense racked up points on the scoreboard and made a blowout appear to be a close game on the stat sheet.
The Mavericks also have a penalty problem. This is not unknown as CMU averages 95 yards in penalties per game this season. Key plays against CSUP were reduced due to penalties, which ended as a loss for the Mavericks. The following week CMU produced 13 penalties for 162 yards against BHS. Four of those penalties either gave the Yellow Jackets points or took points away from the Mavericks.
It is to the point where small things, like penalties and the underperformance of the backups, are becoming an issue and costing points on the scoreboard.
The Mavericks are currently ranked No. 20 in the nation and will most likely elevate their ranking if they continue to produce offensively like they have been up to this point in the season. The defense remains to stay solid, despite allowing close games such as the ones against Colorado School of Mines and Chadron State.
Overall CMU does have a significant chance to overtake the number one spot in the RMAC if CSUP falls off near the end of the season; the matter of the fact is, these small blemishes in the Mavericks game need to be fixed, before heading into the closing half of the season.
If these problems continue to exist or even elevate, they will sacrifice the Mavericks chances at progressing any further than they did last year which ended in a first-round loss in the Division II playoffs.