Mines finishes last home game with 31-24 win over Chadron

{gallery}1112/i9/web_football{/gallery}Steven Wooldridge / Oredigger

Chadron State held RMAC leading rusher Dan Palmer to just 59 yards until late in the fourth quarter, but Palmer needed only two runs to wipe all of that work away.

Palmer rushed for 35 yards on those two plays, scoring the winning touchdown with just over three minutes remaining as Mines defeated Chadron State 31-24 during Parents’ Day at Campbell Field in Golden.

The junior running back for the #23 Orediggers, averaging a conference-high 98.4 yards per game, finished with 94 yards and a score, while quarterback Clay Garcia had 260 yards passing, as well as a passing and a rushing touchdown in the win.
With the game tied at 24, Palmer’s winning touchdown capped a pivotal, 79 yard drive that spanned just two-and-a-half minutes. Mines converted two third downs on the drive, the second of which was made possible by a defensive facemask penalty that negated a disastrous Garcia fumble.

After the penalty, Palmer took care of business and put the Orediggers ahead for good with a 21-yard touchdown run.

Mines started the game strong, scoring on their first three possessions. Starting on the Orediggers’ 29, Garcia connected with Matt Brown and Palmer on two long passes of 38 and 33 yards, respectively, to move the Orediggers to the Chadron State four yard line. Two plays later, freshman Tevin Champagne found the endzone for his third score of the year to put Mines ahead 17-3.

The Eagles responded with a late touchdown drive in the first half to tie the game at 17. They built on their momentum, scoring their third straight touchdown on the opening drive of the second half and grabbing the lead for the first and only time in the game at 24-17.

After surrendering 21 unanswered points, Mines tightened up their defense, and on the ensuing drive, marched 65 yards in five minutes to tie the game on a Garcia one yard dive into the endzone.

After Palmer’s lone score put CSM ahead 31-24, Chadron State got the ball deep in their own territory with one last chance to tie the game. The Eagles advanced up to their own 34-yard line where the Oredigger defense held their ground and forced a turnover on downs.

Junior Matt Brown had a solid 90 yards receiving on seven catches and Mines’ lone touchdown reception while David Pawelek finished with 54 yards on four receptions. Senior Jerod Doucet had 41 yards receiving, Palmer had 34, Diamond Gillis had 20, and Jordan Ward had one catch for 15 yards.

Defensively, Senior Alex Vigil and Junior Ryan Wood led Mines with 10 tackles apiece while Tyler Denson added nine and Ian McFadden had six. Jarrad McKay had Mines’ only turnover of the day with an interception, his first of the year.

The win for the Orediggers was a little piece of redemption. Last season the Eagles spoiled the then sixteenth-ranked Orediggers perfect conference record with a 38-31 win over Mines in Chadron, Nebraska.

The past three meetings between the two teams have all been decided by seven points or less, and by a combined total of 17 points. The win Saturday was only the Orediggers’ second against the Eagles since 2004.

With the win, the Orediggers improve to 8-2 overall and 6-2 in RMAC play. The twenty-third-ranked Orediggers finish their regular season next week against #8 Nebraska-Kearney at Foster Field in Kearney, Nebraska.

Saturday’s game was also Senior Day for the 19 seniors on the football roster. Bumni Adetutu, Jordan Smith, Tim Halper, Clay Garcia, Colin Baker, Jacob Juett, Taylor Jeski, Jarrad McKay, Matt Stiasny, Blaine Saathoff, Alex Vigil, Josh Ruff, Curren Vite, Eric Lee, Kyle Froetschel, Zach Keller, Scott McManigal, Mark Powell, and Brett Fischer each played their final game at Campbell Field.

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