Tough luck at home has sent the Fort Lewis College football team to a 1-2 start this season. That one win came on the road, and the Skyhawks hope to duplicate that feat Saturday to get to 2-2. It won’t be easy against the nation’s 11th-ranked team.
Fort Lewis will head to Grand Junction to face the Colorado Mesa Mavericks (3-0, 3-0 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference). Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at Stocker Stadium.
The Mavericks are the lone unbeaten team int he conference and will be up for another home game looking to move to 4-0 before a nationally televised game the following week against CSU-Pueblo. Mesa is fresh off a 38-36 home win against Colorado School of Mines. Running back David Tann was named the RMAC Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 197 yards and four touchdowns, including the game-winner.
Tann was key a year ago when Colorado Mesa visited Durango and secured a 34-28 victory. A botched punt in the game’s final minutes helped give the Mavericks the narrow victory.
FLC returns several players from the team that played the Mavericks so close last season. Quarterback Bo Coleman passed for 223 yards, PJ Hall rushed for 151 yards and Arealous Hughes hauled in 113 yards of receiving. All three of those FLC players are back this year, though Hall exited last week’s 34-27 loss to Adams State with an ankle injury, and his status for Saturday is uncertain.
FLC ranks third in rush defense in the conference at 136.7 yards per game and is fourth in scoring defense at 24 points per game. The team’s plus-6 margin in turnovers also is tops in the league, as the Skyhawks’ defense has five interceptions through three games. Two have gone for touchdowns.
Ball control will be an interesting statistic Saturday. FLC has controlled the ball for an average of 34 minutes, 22 seconds per game, which is tops in the RMAC. Meanwhile, Mesa has the worst time of possession in the conference at 25 minutes per game but is undefeated.
FLC will have to keep the ball away from Virnel Moon, the top kick returner in the conference. Coleman also will try to keep Dustin Rivas at bay by not throwing an interception. Rivas has 17 career interceptions, matching Mesa’s career record. Coleman has yet to throw an interception this season.
It’s the first of three consecutive road games for the Skyhawks with a trip to Colorado Mines looming Sept. 30 and a visit to Western State on Oct. 7.