With the Orediggers leading late, it was the defense’s turn to preserve the lead and stave off a late comeback as Mines defeated Adams State College 27-16 Saturday at Rex Stadium for their third straight victory.
In the win, Clay Garcia threw for 296 yards and a score while senior receiver Jerod Doucet caught four passes for 84 yards and a touchdown. On the ground, Dan Palmer ran for 92 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries.
Trailing by three at halftime, Tevin Champagne returned the opening kickoff of the second half for the Orediggers for 29 yards to the 35. Garcia and the Oredigger offense then marched 65 yards in a drive that took just over four minutes and ended with Tyler Palmer rushing five yards for a touchdown to put Mines ahead 20-16.
The Orediggers never looked back after the Palmer touchdown, but this time it was the defense that shined, shutting out the Grizzlies in the second half after surrendering 16 points in the first.
CSM forced four turnovers on the day, three of which were interceptions. They wasted no time with the first, as defensive lineman Sam Frazier picked off a Trevor Eggleston pass on the first snap of the game. The offense failed to capitalize on the opportunity, however, losing 10 yards on the next three plays.
The defense held the Grizzlies to two three-and-outs on the next three possesions. It was a bend-but-not-break style of play as the Orediggers surrendered 417 yards of total offense and only 16 points.
On Adams State’s six second half possessions, Mines forced two interceptions, three missed field goals, and a punt. With the Orediggers ahead 20-16 in the third quarter, the Grizzlies marched methodically down to the CSM 14 yard line. Adams State looked to be on the verge of regaining the lead when Ian McFadden intercepted a Eggleston pass in the endzone to keep the Grizzlies off the scoreboard.
The play represented a huge momentum swing as Mines took the ball and immediately drove 80 yards for their second and final touchdown of the game. Two possessions later, the Grizzlies drove down to the CSM eight yard line and looked to cut the Oredigger lead to eight before Senior Bunmi Adetutu blocked the 25 yard field goal to once again keep Adams State scoreless.
In all, the Grizzlies gained 216 yards in the second half and advanced at least to the CSM 30 on four possessions and inside the 20 twice, all without putting a point on the board.
On defense for the Orediggers, Alex Vigil had 16 total tackles while Ryan Wood added 10. Justin Neal had seven, Taylor Jeski had six and Henry Kaetzer, Ian McFadden and Tyler Denson each had five tackles.
On offense, Doucet led the Orediggers in receptions while Diamond Gillis had a monster afternoon with 84 yards on eight catches. Matt Brown finished with three catches for 53 yards, David Pawelek had three catches for 31 yards, Palmer had two catches for 37 yards and Tevin Champagne rounded out the statistics with one catch for six yards.
Placekicker Colin Baker connected on both of his field goal attempts from 29 and 44 yards. The 44 yard conversion tied his career longest field goal.
The Orediggers return to Campbell field Saturday against Chadron State for their final home game and Senior Day.