Dixie State hosts No. 20 Colorado Mesa tonight at Legend Solar Stadium

Dixie State University football | File photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Nationally ranked No. 20 Colorado Mesa (5-1 overall, 5-1 in the RMAC) at Dixie State University (3-3 overall, 3-2 in the RMAC) today, 6 p.m., Legend Solar Stadium
Previous Meeting: Dixie State beat then Now. 23 nationally-ranked Colorado Mesa 38-31 in Grand Junction, Colorado. DSU came back scoring 35 unanswered points after trailing 17-0 early behind 332 rushing yards.
Overall Series Record: CMU leads 6-2
Broadcast: (Audio) ESPN SportsRadio 97.7 FM; CEC-TV (TDS Cable Channel 22); DSU Stretch Internet Portal (portal.stretchinternet.com/dixiestate)

Head coach: Shay McClure (2nd year, 3-3, 9-8 overall)
Offense: Pro Set
Offensive PPG: 27.8
Defense: Pro 4-3
Defensive PPG: 28.0
Last Game: Beat Chadron State last week 38-24 at home
Players to watch: Quarterback Malik Watson had a strong game last week and has thrown for 12 touchdowns this season. Sei-J Lauago missed last week’s game but still leads the team in rushing (478 yards). Orlando Wallace (28 catches), Kasey Allison (27) and Josiah Blandin (16) lead the team in receptions. Last week DeJuan Dantzler and Ernest Quiocho got TD catches. According to McClure the offensive line has performed the best as a unit. Defensively Trayvon Watson is a beast. He leads the team with 44 tackles and two interceptions. Linebackers Mike Jones (39 tackles) and Noe Perez (35) are just behind him. Remington Kelly continues to be a force on the line.

Mesa_State_MavericksHead Coach: Russ Martin (6th year at CMU, 38-26, overall 40-51)
Offense: Pro Set
Offensive Average: 37.3
Defense: Pro 4-3
Defensive Average: 25.0
Last Game: Beat Black Hills State at home last week 49-37
Players to watch: Quarterback Eystin Salum is not only an efficient passer but is also a danger to run. He has passed for 1433 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushed for 504 yards and nine touchdowns. His favorite targets are receivers Josh Brown (20 catches), Virnel Moon (17) and Peter Anderson (15). David Tann leads the team in rushing (578 yards) and is also a receiving threat (11 catches). Defensive end Blake Nelson leads the team with 46 tackles and leads the RMAC with five sacks. Behind him are safety Darian Turner (41 tackles) and Linebacker Tom Saager (40 tackles).

The Maverik defense leads the RMAC in shutting down the rush holding opponents to 117 yards per game. But they are last against the pass as opponents put up over 334 yards per game against them. Offensively it will be the RMAC’s top passing efficiency team (CMU-146.4 Effic.) against the RMAC’s top pass defense efficiency team (DSU 92.2 Effic.). CMU will likely remember last year’s upset and will want to avenge the loss that knocked them from the national rankings last year. The Mavericks won their next four games, averaging over 55 per game before losing in the NCAA playoffs. It was a big win for first-year coach McClure. Can Dixie State repeat last year’s upset victory?

STGNews.com Prediction: CMU 38, DSU 28

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