Since it’s inception in 1925, the Colorado Mesa University Mavericks football team has seen many changes; in coaching, college name and divisions until they landed a spot in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC). The Mavericks will be looking to take advantage of a Bobcat team coming off a heartbreaking loss to Southern Methodist University (SMU) last Saturday.
A stream of injuries in the SMU game spell trouble for the Bobcats. Quarterback DeNarius McGhee will not be starting for the first time in 40 games for MSU. The two-time Big Sky Conference Offensive Most Outstanding Player suffered a separated right shoulder as he was hit out of bounds on the last play of the game. This makes sophomore quarterback, Jake Bleskin, the default starter.
In his first 2013 game against Monmouth, Bleskin seemed nervous, almost throwing two interceptions in the first passes he attempted. At the final whistle, he completed only two of his four attempts for 28 yards.
Bleskin is still learning the tools of the trade as a college quarterback. In his career at MSU, he has played in a total of four games, and has attempted eight passes, completing five for a total of 46 yards. This game will test his ability to handle an entire game by himself.
The Bobcat’s have rallied around McGhee’s leadership and play style, and it will be interesting to see how the team syncs to Bleskin’s rhythm.
Kicker/punter Rory Perez is also on the injured list from a massive block he took in the final seconds of the second quarter against SMU. The diagnosis is unclear at this time, but alongside him on the injury report is defensive tackle Craig Ashworth. All three are listed as questionable, however it was reported that DeNarius’s injury will sideline him at least until mid-October, making him unable to continue his 31-9 record as starting quarterback.
Colorado Mesa may be a lower division school, but they are not a school to underestimate. They have power in the running position and is a team with experience. With Bleskin’s unfamiliarity on the field as a starter, I believe this game will be closer than people may think. People may disagree, but I predict a close score of 24-17 in favor of Montana State.