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    BHSU FB: Jackets set for match-up with #21 Colorado Mesa

    Setting the Stage: The Black Hills State University football team completed another comeback to defeat New Mexico Highlands, 50-40, on Saturday afternoon. The Yellow Jackets were down 34-20 at the half, and scored 30 second half points to earn the victory, and move to 3-2 on the season. Phydell Paris had three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) and Shandon Jones caught three touchdowns to lead the offense. Ryan Hommel threw for 254 yards and five touchdowns. Defensively, JJ Kilgore and Thayer Sauter each had eight tackles, while Sam Garcia tallied his second interception of the season. The Yellow Jackets forced five Cowboy turnovers (four fumbles, one interception).

    Last Meeting: The Yellow Jackets defeated No. 13 Colorado Mesa, 48-34, last season, for their first victory over a nationally ranked team in the NCAA era. Ryan Hommel finished with 367 yards passing and three touchdowns, while Shandon Jones caught two TDs and racked up 217 yards receiving, and Phydell Paris rushed for 104 yards. Defensively, Luis Bach had eight tackles, and the Green and Gold had four interceptions.

    About No. 21 Colorado Mesa: The Mavericks most recently fell to then No. 17-ranked CSU-Pueblo, 30-24, in a battle of ranked teams. Eystin Salum threw for 175 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for 102 yards and a touchdown. Virnel Moon had 68 receiving yards and a touchdown, while also running back a kickoff for a score. Defensively, Darian Turner and Tom Saager each had 10 tackles, while Blake Nelson had an interception for CMU.

    Series History: After winning last year, BHSU is 1-4 all-time against the Mavericks.

    Coverage: Yellow Jacket fans can catch Steve Ammerman on the call on The Eagle, 95.9 and 96.3 FM. A free webcast can be found via Stretch Internet, the official video provider for RMAC Sports.

    Temperature: The five-day forecast shows Saturday's temperature in Grand Junction, Colo., around kickoff to be 67 degrees. There is a zero percent chance of precipitation with a wind at eight mph.

    General Notebook

    50 points: Black Hills State put up 50 points at New Mexico Highlands last weekend. This was the first time the Yellow Jackets had scored 50 points since a 50-48 victory over Western State on November 23, 2013.

    Second half team: The difference between the first and second half performances of BHSU so far this season is stark. The Yellow Jackets have outscored their five opponents, 92-33, in the second half of their games, while being outscored, 127-59, in the first half. In the three wins for the Green and Gold this season, the offense has put up 79 points in the second half, while allowing just 16.

    South Dakota Hold 'em: The Yellow Jacket defense held SD Mines to zero points, and just 66 yards of offense in the second half. They followed that performance up by allowing just six points and 149 yards against New Mexico Highlands in the second half of last week's game.

    Rank and file: After five weeks of play, the Green and Gold are ranked in the top-five of the RMAC in several categories. BHSU is fifth in rushing offense (194.8 ypg), fifth in passing offense (244.0 ypg), second in kickoff returns (25.7 yards/return), third in first downs (23.8/game), and fifth in time of possession (30:19/game). The Yellow Jackets are also third in pass defense efficiency (116.2) and third in interceptions (six).

    Take it away: After finishing the 2016 season with the second most interceptions in the nation, the Yellow Jackets are off to a fast start in that category in 2017. The Green and Gold defense had three interceptions against Adams State in week one, two against South Dakota Mines, and one in the game at New Mexico Highlands. Sam Garcia leads the squad with two interceptions. The nation's leader a year ago, Drew Hebel, has one INT, while Jarrell GanawayJosh Gurnaby, and Dimitri Butts each have snagged one as well this season.

    Next man up: The injury bug has struck the Yellow Jackets this season. Three different quarterbacks have played in a game, while three different starting linebacking corps have played.

    Depth Charge: Last year's initial depth chart shows that experience has been growing with 18 juniors and nine seniors listed on the depth chart. This season, the depth chart shows 14 juniors and 14 seniors. Those players, who experienced the success of last year, will look for more this year. There are eight sophomores and 10 freshman, nine of which are redshirt freshman, on the depth chart.

    Win First: The Yellow Jackets won their season-opener for the second consecutive year, when they beat Adams State, 47-41, in double overtime. BHSU defeated Adams State, 34-33, in Alamosa, Colorado, last year for their first season-opening win since the 2008 season when the Green and Gold, then an NAIA school, upset NCAA Division II Southwest Minnesota State 21-14 on September 6, 2008.

    Captains: The Yellow Jacket captains, as chosen by their teammates, are Phydell ParisShandon JonesJJ Kilgore, and Thayer Sauter. Paris earned the Captain nod for the third-straight year, while Kilgore is a Captain for the second-consecutive season.

    Rushing King: Senior Phydell Paris owns every major rushing record at Black Hills State. He ranked second last year in the conference with 1,314 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns. He finished the season ranked number eight at the NCAA Division II level in rushing yards per game (131.4).

    RMAC Honors: The 2016 season led to several Yellow Jackets being honored by the conference. Head coach John Reiners was named the Coach of the Year, while Drew Hebel was named the Defensive Player of the Year. Joining Hebel on the All-RMAC First Team were Shandon Jones and Phydell Paris. Earning Second Team honors were offensive lineman Andrew Blaylock and defensive tackle Cody Benne. On the Honorable Mention team were Isaiah BirkelTravis GrovesRyan Hommel, and Thayer Sauter. All but Benne and Groves return to BHSU in 2017.

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