The Colorado School of Mines Football team travelled to Nebraska to take on No. 21 Chadron State in the snow in the final matchup of the season. Unfortunately for the Orediggers, the final result was 20-14 in Chadron’s favor, but in a year plagued with injuries, Mines ended up with a respectable 6-5 record.
After Chadron kicked the opening kickoff out of bounds, Mines started with good field position at the 35 yard line and moved the ball 21 yards over eight plays, but ended the drive with a Taylor Accardi punt. Chadron took over at their 10 yard line and moved the ball 43 yards thanks to a couple of short passes and a 15 yard pass interference penalty on Mines. But the defense would hold strong as the drive would stall thanks to a Ryan Wood interception to again set the Oredigger offense up with great field position at the CSM 38 yard line. However, Mines would turn the ball over on downs just seven plays later after failing to convert a fourth and four at the Chadron 24 yard line. Chadron took advantage of the turnover and and marched the 76 yards down the field to score the first points of the game on a 14-yard pass to give them the early 7-0 lead.
The Orediggers started at their 20 yard line and the first play of their third possession went for 12 yards on a Tevin Champagne rush. Two plays later Matt Brown hit Jerrod Doucet for 23 yards. After marching into Eagle territory, the Oredigger offense once again stalled and turned the ball over on downs for the second time in as many drives. Chadron did little with the ball however and punted just six plays later. After the punt, Mines took over at their own three yard line and quickly completed a 12-yard pass to gain some relief from their own end zone. But just three plays later an interception by Brown gave Chardon the ball at their 44 yard line. Chadron scored eight plays later on a 27-yard pass to push their lead to 14-0. Mines punted on their next possession and Chadron ran the clock out to head to halftime up by two scores.
Chadron scored on their first possession of the second half on a 29-yard pass on fourth and one. They failed to convert the extra point however, and kicked off leading 20-0. The Orediggers’ first play of the second half was just what the doctor order when Champagne rushed for 27 yards to the CSM 37 yard line. After a few short passes and runs, Brown hit David Pawelek for 23 yards as they threatened to crack the scoreboard. Champagne found the end zone five plays later with a rush from three yards out and Avery Llewellyn made the extra point to bring the score to 20-7.
After a Chadron punt, Mines took over at their own 20 down two scores with one quarter to play. For the second consecutive drive, a Champagne run gave the Orediggers life as he carried the ball for 30 more yards to the 50 yard line. The Orediggers continued to move down the field to the Chardon 10 yard line, where three plays later on fourth and nine, Brown scrambled 10 yards for the 10-yard touchdown bringing the score to 20-14.
That would be as close as the Orediggers got though, as both teams traded punts and turnovers in the final 10 minutes to end the game. Brown finished the day 14-29 for 132 yards with two interceptions and a rushing touchdown in his first full year as the starting quarterback. Champagne led the Orediggers in rushing with 118 yards on 21 attempts with one touchdown in his second game back from injury. Doucet finished with four receptions for 71 yards. Ian McFadden had a forced fumble, Matt Craighead recovered the fumble, and Wood had one interception. Billy Sprague led the defense with 11 total tackles and Tyler Denson had 10. In the end, the comeback came short, but Mines Recorded 18 total first downs to Chadron’s 20, and tallied 22 more rushing yards than Chadron in the losing effort.