September 13th, 2023 7:30pm
After a strong showing in the out-of-conference slate of games teams gear up for the stretch run and the hope of unseating Mines atop the RMAC throne!
Adams State @ Colorado School of Mines
The Grizzlies get the crack at Mine coming off a defeat at the hands of West Texas A&M on the road. The confines of Marc Kay stadium won’t be any friendlier.
Last year coming off of an 0-2 start the Orediggers hung 84 on the Grizzlies. I’m not expecting a performance of that magnitude but I do expect Mines to win and in a convincing fashion.
Adam’s was only able to muster a single score in their outing last weekend. Freshman quarterback Conner Underhill will have his hands full with a ferocious front seven gunning for him but has shown some elusiveness.
Barring something miraculous happening I don't see this one being all that competitive, Orediggers win big at home 48-14.
Western Colorado @ CSU-Pueblo
This is the game of the week within the conference! Pueblo will look to rebound following a loss in an early candidate for the game for the year against Grand Valley State. Western on the other hand comes in riding high after sweeping the Lone Star Conference in its two out-of-conference games.
Through two games the transition from Connor Desch to Drew Nash appears to have been seamless. The sophomore signal-caller has operated the offense effectively and last week and found four different wideouts for scores.
Although the passing game of the Mountaineers is trending up I expect a healthy showing of Deyvon Butler in this one. Pueblo’s defense at times looked overmatched upfront as Grand Valley was able to gash them for over two hundred yards and 5 scores on the ground. I expect Western to try and capitalize on this.
Defensively, the Mountaineers will have their work cut out for them. Pueblo trots out an explosive receiving core and the requisite quarterback to feed them all. Chance Fuller’s moxie and accuracy were on full display during his 300-yard, 5 TD effort last weekend. And that was in the face of constant pressure too.
Ultimately I'm expecting a back-and-forth slugfest this weekend but I'm gonna give the edge to the Mountaineers. Coming back from down twenty-one and ultimately losing in double overtime is quite an emotional rollercoaster and I think Pueblo may still have some lingering issues.
Couple that with the fact that Western is riding a two-game winning streak in this matchup and I think they'll come in not hoping to win but expecting to. Give me the Mountaineers in a tight one, 28-24.
Colorado Mesa @ South Dakota School of Mines
How about those Mavericks? Going into and Division I FCS foe’s house and walking out with a victory in which you led from start to finish? Hats off to Coach Kochevar and his staff!
But where do the Mavericks go from here? Clearly, the defense is stingy but do they have the guys on the backend to stop Jayden Johannsen and Ben Noland? That's the question in this one.
The QB-wideout duo has been next to impossible to stop through two games as Noland leads the conference in receptions and receiving touchdowns.
Not to be outdone though Mesa has a game-breaking receiver in Keenan Brown themselves who leads the conference in yards per catch.
Conventional thinking would lead me to lean in the direction of the Hardrockers seeing as they have the more proven commodity at the quarterback position. Yet there's something to be said for overcoming enormous odds and what that can do for a team. I believe the Mavericks parlay last week's momentum into a victory in Rapid City. It'll be close but CMU wins, 31-28.
Chadron State @ Black Hills State
Black Hills welcomes Chadron to Spearfish as they embark on their journey to conference supremacy. I don't expect much resistance on the part of the Eagles.
In years past I would have pegged this to be a competitive tilt but Chandron is a sinking ship while Black Hills is steadily rising. I say that respectfully.
As I predicted last week, the Yellow Jackets running game was able to get going in week two as Nolan Susel found the endzone twice to go along with 127 all-purpose yards.
Expect more of the same this week. Augustana was able to gash the Eagles with long passing scores early last week but Dax Yeradi’s breakout three-interception game should make the Yellow Jackets think twice about airing it out. Not to mention, Hunter O’Connor has yet to register a sack this year. You don't want to give him too many opportunities to pin his ears back.
Defensively for Black Hills, I don't think they should have much trouble stopping a Chadron offense that only mustered 214 total yards last week.
These are two teams on opposite ends of the spectrum in the hierarchy of the conference and I think that will be on full display this Saturday. Yellow Jackets win big at home, 31-10.
New Mexico Highlands @ Fort Lewis
Man, I really hoped the Skyhawks could get a win out of conference play. Sadly they weren't and I don't think they'll have another legitimate chance until they encounter Chadron.
Highlands is no slouch and they proved that last week jumping out to a big lead on Western New Mexico. The Cowboys defense is tenacious and Braden Wingle will have to deal with constant pressure in his face.
If he can manage that though, Fort Lewis maybe be able to gash Highlands on the backend. This comes on the heels of Chris Thomas’ two-touchdown effort against Arizona Christian so that's a good sign for the Skyhawks.
Cowboys win comfortably but Fort Lewis continues to show signs of life, 42-21.