The Colorado School of Mines overcame a slow first quarter of mistakes to take care of the New Mexico Highlands University Cowboys 49-21 Saturday afternoon at Perkins Stadium in Las Vegas, NM.
The win sends the Orediggers to 2-1 overall, 1-0 RMAC as the offensive explosion continued for Quarterback Clay Garcia and company.
It has been two full weeks since Mines has last played a game, and it showed during the first 12 minutes of play. The Orediggers fumbled the ball on their first two drives of the game, setting up the Cowboys with excellent field position, and surrendered a safety early on. But NMHU failed to capitalize, only scoring 6 points on the two turnovers, and CSM’s Blaine Sumner scored with 30 seconds left in the first quarter to put Mines ahead 7-6 heading into the second quarter.
As seems to be the pattern thus far in the season, the Oredigger defense continued to bend, but not break. NMHU had consecutive red zone possessions, but only came away with a total of six points. And as the second quarter continued, the defense kept New Mexico at bay, holding the Cowboy offense scoreless for the remainder of the half.
On the offensive side, Mines began to regain its rhythm with two substantial drives in the second quarter. With four minutes remaining in the half, CSM drove down to the New Mexico 10, but stalled when the Orediggers nearly gave up their third fumble of the game and settled for a Paul McVay field goal. One defensive stand later and Mines was once again driving. This time it ended in a 13 yard touchdown reception by wide out Tom Kastens. The score put CSM up 17-8 and the Orediggers never looked back.
To begin the second half, the Cowboys responded with a kick return touchdown by Kevon Williams, and closed the gap to 17-15. But that was as close as they got. The CSM offense proceeded to score 22 straight points to put the game away.
The Colorado School of Mines defense and special teams continued to shine on Saturday. With two more blocked kicks against New Mexico Highlands, the Orediggers have now blocked a total of three field goals in their past two games, all coming at critical times in the ball games.
Sophomore Ryan Wood collected his second career interception against the Cowboys. His catch, late in the third quarter off quarterback Robbie Armijo, halted the New Mexico drive that could have pulled the Cowboys within 2 points. The interception set up the Orediggers with excellent field position and was a pivotal play in allowing the Orediggers to pull away.
Garcia continued his airborne success by completing 29 of 46 for 345 yards and two touchdowns. In receiving, Jerrod Doucet and Tom Kastens both had strong games with 168 and 112 receiving yards respectively. Red shirt freshman Trevor Florendo led the ground attack with 15 rushes for 85 yards.
The loss sends New Mexico Highlands to its third straight loss. The Cowboys haven’t seen success against the Orediggers since 2006.
Mines exploded for 49 points Saturday. In addition to the 52 points they tallied last game against fellow engineers from South Dakota Mines, CSM has now scored 101 point in their last two games.
Mines continues RMAC play next week when they host Western New Mexico at Brooks Field Sept. 25, 12:00 PM.