Senior wide receiver Jerrod Doucet made the most of his final home game as an Oredigger, posting 128 receiving yards and a touchdown, but it simply was not enough, as Mines’ comeback fell just short in a 36-25 loss to Adams State University during Parents Weekend at Campbell Field.
Things started out well for the Orediggers. On Adams State’s first offensive play of the day, Oredigger linebacker Henry Kaetzer intercepted Trevor Eggleston and lumbered down to the ten yard line, setting up a Avery Llewellyn 25-yard field goal. It would not last, as Adams state would respond with 10 straight points to take the lead at 10-3 late in the first quarter.
The Orediggers would then go on a 15-0 run of their own, highlighted by an Eric Shannon, 37-yard touchdown reception and an interception return for a touchdown by junior linebacker Tyler Denson.
Then, leading 15-10 with less than two minutes remaining in the second quarter, the Oredigger defense stuffed the Grizzlies on a fourth down conversion, handing both the ball and momentum to the offensive unit. The offense responded, moving the ball 50 yards in 1:20 to set up a 29-yard Llewelyn field goal with 29 seconds left. Up 18-10 the Orediggers looked well on their way to their sixth straight victory over Adams State. But, the Grizzlies’ Ron Gaudin would quickly answer, taking the ensuing kickoff 107 yards for a score with 11 seconds remaining. A failed two-point conversion would bring the score to 18-16
The touchdown took the wind out of the Oredigger’s sails. Adams State would take the opening drive of the second half 78 yards for a touchdown, taking a 23-18 and never looking back. These two scores would spark a 26-0 Adams State run that would essentially seal the game for the Grizzlies.
Yet with an offense that had been averaging almost 400 passing yards per game, the Orediggers are seemingly never out of a game, and with seven minutes left in the game, Matt Brown and the offense finally began to find their rhythm. Facing fourth down on the Adams State 43, Brown heaved the ball into the endzone for Doucet. The ball bounced off an Adams State defender before landing in the lap of Doucet for the touchdown, narrowing the deficit to 11 with six minutes to play.
After a strong stand by the defense, Mines got the ball back one more time, marching the ball all the way down to the Adams State goal line before being denied one last time at the end of the game.
Doucet led the Orediggers with his 128 receiving yards and a touchdown, while Shannon added 88 yards and a score as well. Brown finished with 303 yards on 22-63 passing and two touchdowns. Brown also led the Orediggers in rushing yards with 21. Mines’ poor rushing performance highlighted the gap left by injured running back Dan Palmer, as Mines finished with just 27 total rushing yards, most coming on broken quarterback scrambles. With Palmer out, Mines ran just 15 designed running plays, only two of which were not run by Brown.
Both teams entered the contest with identical 6-3 records, looking to make a late push in the conference standings. Adams State outgained Mines in overall yardage 580-330, and 210-27 on the ground. Adams State also had a 2:1 time of possession ratio, holding the ball for 40:02 compared to Mines’ 19:58. Mines forced three first half turnovers and scored 10 points off of turnovers. Punter Taylor Accardi, leading the nation with 52.4 yards per punt (seven yards per punt better than second place) averaged 50 yards per punt on ten punts on the afternoon.
In addition to seniors Accardi, Doucet, and Kaetzer, Saturday marked the final home game for tight end David Pawelek, wide receiver Cody Renken, running backs Zach Newnam and Dan Palmer, defensive backs Jarrad McKay, Dan Moose, and Justin Neal, defensive lineman Sam Frazier, and offensive linemen Iain Smith, Preston Linser, and Nate Behrends.
Mines closes out its 2012 regular season at Chadron State (7-2 overall, 6-1 RMAC) Saturday, November 10 in Chadron, Nebraska.