All Photos Steven Wooldridge
88-7. That is the amount by which the Mines football team has outscored its opponents through the first two games of play this season after cruising to a 55-7 win over the South Dakota School of Mines Saturday at Campbell field in Golden.
Senior Quarterback and Harlon Hill Trophy finalist Clay Garcia threw for 318 yards and three touchdowns on 25-34 passing before being relieved by backups midway through the third quarter. Through the first two games, Garcia has recorded 585 yards through the air. At this pace, Garcia will accumulate an incredible 3200 passing yards on nearly 400 passing attempts.
The Orediggers started the game off slowly, allowing the Hardrockers to methodically move the ball on their first drive before holding their ground near midfield. And the offensive side was not much better, as the first play from scrimmage resulted in a swarming sack of Garcia for a five yard loss. But Mines rebounded and quickly marched down the field, covering 76 yards in six minutes, and finishing with a 25 yard pass to reliable senior receiver Jerod Doucet.
After the Oredigger defense held their ground on the next SDSM possession, Mines fumbled the ball away on the ensuing punt, giving the Hardrockers a short field. Mines was not ready to be scored upon yet, and senior linebacker Alex Vigil responded by stepping in front of a pass from Hardrocker quarterback Nick Russel and returning the interception to the SDSM 44. Two minutes and 34 yards later, Garcia connected with Doucet yet again, this time for a 10 yard strike to put Mines ahead 14-0.
Early in the second quarter, Mines suffered two costly penalties and SDSM recovered a Garcia fumble deep in CSM territory. SDSM capitalized and quickly scored on a 14 yard pass to wide receiver Marshall Davis. The touchdown brought the Hardrockers to within seven at 14-7, but it would be the closest SDSM would get and the last time that they would score.
Mines responded by easily moving the ball down the field and regained control of the game on a beautifully placed pass from Garcia to tight end Eric Shannon for a 20 yard touchdown.
Throughout the second and third quarters, Mines spread the ball around across the offense, but relied on a heavy dose of running from junior running back Dan Palmer. The Orediggers rode the Palmer train for 168 yards and 3 consecutive touchdowns cruising to a 41-7 lead after three quarters.
Defensively, the Orediggers continued their dominance. After allowing their first score in six quarters, Mines shut down the SDSM offense, holding them off of the scoreboard for the remaining three quarters. Junior Henry Kaetzer led Mines with seven tackles while junior cornerback Ryan Wood added six. Ian McFadden, Bumni Adetutu, Tyler Palmer, and Tyler Denson each had five. Vigil and Rylan Hess each collected an interception off Russell while Kaetzer, McFadden, Vigil, Jarrad McKay, and Taylor Jeski combined for three sacks.
Mines dominated the Hardrockers in every aspect of the game. The Orediggers outscored SDSM by 48, outgained them in total yards 673-218, and forced six punts while not punting once themselves. Mines collected 20 more first downs than South Dakota (32-12) and scored nine touchdowns to the Hardrockers one. But the largest discrepancy, and the one that may have won the game for Mines, was the rushing yards, where CSM blasted SDSM, gaining 300 yards while holding the Hardockers to only seven.
The strong performance through three quarters allowed some of the Oredigger backups to get valuable playing time. True freshman running back Tevin Champagne ran for 76 yards on 12 carries and backup quarterback Matt Brown completed all five of his passes for 55 yards. Shannon led all receivers with 111 yards and a touchdown on three receptions while Doucet added 48 yards and two scores. David Pawalek had 47 yards on seven receptions and Jordan Ward added 39 yards and a touchdown on four catches.
With the win, Mines moves to 2-0 overall. It is also the thirteenth consecutive victory by the Orediggers over SDSM. Mines is now 13-0 against the Hardrockers, dating back to 1917. Mines begins their RMAC conference play next Saturday against New Mexico Highlands during Military Appreciation Day at Campbell Field in Golden.