After a strong showing last weekend against New Mexico Highlands in this year’s Homecoming Game, the Oredigger football team stumbled on the road this week, losing a tight contest to Western New Mexico 25-22.
Mines started off the game well, taking their opening possession 50 yards down the field to set up an Avery Llewellyn 42-yard field goal. However, WNM responded quickly, taking their first drive 75 yards down the field into the Mines end zone. The CSM defense managed to block the extra point attempt, but still the Orediggers were down 6-3. Both schools traded unproductive drives the rest of the quarter, leaving Mines still down by three after the first 15 minutes of play.
Less than 30 seconds into the second quarter, Western New Mexico completed a long 49-yard pass, which set up a six-yard touchdown run, giving the Mustangs the 12-3 lead after the extra point attempt was missed. Matt Brown and Tevin Champagne led the offense down the field on the following drive, resulting in a 32-yard Llewellyn field goal that cut the Mustang lead to six points. Each team swapped unsuccessful drives once again, until WNM strung together a 13-play, 78-yard touchdown drive just before halftime. The CSM defense stepped up and blocked their second extra point attempt on the night, but still the Orediggers went into the locker room down 18-6.
Quarter number three saw a tight defensive struggle, with neither side willing to budge for the most part. However, the Mustangs managed to find a hole in the Oredigger defense and exploited it for a 93-yard touchdown pass. WNM was finally able to convert an extra point, and the Orediggers went into the final quarter trailing 25-6.
CSM was able to find the endzone quickly at the start of the quarter, as Joe Schneider punched the ball into the endzone from the one-yard line a mere 18 seconds out of the break. Mines attempted a two point conversion, but Schneider’s pass fell incomplete, and the Orediggers were down 25-12. After a strong defensive showing quickly gave possession back to the offense, Schneider led the team deep into Mustang territory, but came up short on a dropped fourth down pass. They would get another chance after another short Mustang drive, and despite going 90 yards down the field on 24 plays, the Orediggers were stopped at the WNM two-yard line after falling just short on fourth and goal.
Though the game seemed out of reach, the Oredigger defense stepped up and gave the team life again, forcing a Mustang safety with just over two minutes left in the game. Down 25-14, the Mines offense had one last drive to keep themselves in the ballgame, and they capitalized on it. In just over a minute, Schneider marched the offense 63 yards down the field for the touchdown. Schneider connected with Jimmy Ellis for the two point conversion, and with 41 seconds left in the game, the Orediggers found themselves down 25-22, only three points. The fate of the game would come down to an Avery Llewellyn onside kick, but the Mustangs recovered and ran out the clock, ending Mines great comeback attempt.
CSM will look to rebound from this tough loss next week when they return home to host Fort Lewis. That game kicks off at noon on Saturday, October 12th on Campbell Field here in Golden.