Mines vs CSU-Pueblo

Oredigger football upsets CSU-Pueblo 19-16 in Homecoming game

{gallery}1011/i6/football{/gallery}Steven Wooldridge / Oredigger

The Colorado School of Mines Orediggers pulled off an amazing win after a shaky three quarters of offensive play at Saturday’s homecoming game vs CSU Pueblo. The game, which marks the fourth for Mines in RMAC (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) play, didn’t start well for the Orediggers. In the first drive, Mines was forced to punt on a fourth and long, setting CSU Pueblo up for an early field goal, which became the only score put on the board for the first 40 minutes of play. The Orediggers proved the stronger, though, refusing to let the ThunderWolves deny them their game.

At the first half, it was difficult to determine who was the superior team, both seemed to have strengths and weaknesses that prevented them from scoring. With a chorus of cheers and groans from the 3,216 fans attending, the Orediggers fought their way towards the end zone on five consecutive drives, with three of them ending in turnovers on downs and two of them ending with the ThunderWolves intercepting Garcia’s pass. It was truly hard to watch the the Orediggers come so close, just to have the opportunity to score stripped like a football from a wide receiver on a falling tackle.

The halftime show allowed the Orediggers to regroup and refocus their game plan, while the rest of us watched the always-great Colorado School of Mines marching band perform the famous splitting of the atom. In true Mines fashion, they played a medley of the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme by John Williams, as well as other great band pieces. Joining them again this year was the Mines dance team, performing a rather geeky dance dressed up as nerds. The halftime show concluded with a spirited singing of the Mines fight song with all students in attendance joining in, per tradition. This years’ halftime held something very special for a certain girlfriend of one 2004 lineman, as the former lineman got down on one knee and proposed in front of the entire crowd.

The Orediggers must have had some good coaching in that locker room during halftime, because they came out on the field with a renewed vigor that was contagious. The crowd was riled up and ready for Mines to take the field by storm, and show those ThunderWolves who owns the astro-turf. True to form, the Orediggers held the ThunderWolves to a 43 yard, 3:19 drive, forced a punt, and then proceeded to eat up the clock and fight their way to a stress-inducing three yard rush by defensive lineman Blaine Sumner to put the score at 6 – 3 for the third quarter on a 80 yard, 6:30 drive.

The next few minutes passed with both the Orediggers and the ThunderWolves straining for possession, with the ThunderWolves finally taking the ball on a 64 yard, 6:00 drive ending with a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. With the stakes high, the Orediggers responded with a fast, powerful drive culminating in a stunning 41 yard pass from Garcia to wide receiver Jerrod Doucet, putting Mines back where they belonged in the lead with 12-10.  Not about to let us win without a fight, CSU Pueblo responded by scoring again, putting them back in the lead with 16-12, which only served to ratchet up the tension in the stands.

The crowd of on-lookers was treated to what can only be described as football history in the making, as the Orediggers fought hard to reach the end zone once again, where they nearly stalled on three consecutive incomplete passes by Garcia. On the final shot of the game, Garcia lofted one high over Robbin Vinnola, prompting angry groans and protests from the crowd, believing that it was all over. Fourth down and eight yards with 30.8 seconds left on the clock, the referee called offside on the ThunderWolves, giving the Orediggers one more chance to salvage the game. With the tension high, Garcia found Doucet in the end zone for a perfect catch to end the game. Truly a win for the books, this years’ homecoming football game will go down in history as one of the most memorable.

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