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Orediggers Blow Past Hardrockers, 71-7

Orediggers Blow Past Hardrockers, 71-7

RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Colorado School of Mines football team held South Dakota School of Mines & Technology to just 28 rushing yards on 30 carries while scoring two defensive touchdowns in posting a 71-7 win over the Hardrockers at O'Harra Stadium in Rapid City, S.D.

Mines (2-0) recorded two safeties and two defensive touchdowns en route to its 71 points - the second-most by an Oredigger squad under head coach Bob Stitt and the second-most by a Mines team since joining the NCAA Division II ranks. The Orediggers scored 75 points in a 75-40 win over New Mexico Highlands on October 25, 2003.

The all-time school record for points in a game was a 103-0 win over Colorado in 1890. Mines has now recorded 127 points through its first two contests of the season which sets a modern era record for points over a two-game span.

Mines first got on the board with 11:50 remaining in the first quarter when Avery Llewellyn knocked in a 47-yard field goal attempt to put the score at 3-0.

Alex Laudenslager then intercepted a Mike Zanutto pass on the ensuing possession and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown. Llewellyn added the extra point to put Mines ahead 10-0.

The hosts trimmed the lead to 10-7 on a 76-yard touchdown from Zanutto to Deshaun Scott.

Mines pushed its lead to 17-7 when Matt Brown connected with Jimmy Ellis for a five-yard touchdown to go up 17-7 with 8:31 remaining in the first quarter. A Dan Palmer 1-yd touchdown run (his first of three on the day) with 4:12 remaining put Mines up 23-7 near the end of the first quarter.

After a stand on fourth down by Rylan Hess and the Oredigger defense, Llewellyn then bombed a 50-yard field goal on the following drive to push the lead to 26-7 with 10:48 to play in the second quarter.

A 45-yard punt return by Cody Renken set the offense up beautifully at the Hardrocker (0-2) 30 yard line - making it so Brown needed just four plays to get in the end zone again by connecting with Jerrod Doucet on scoring pass number two, this one of the seven-yard variety, to put Mines up 33-7 with 8:14 to play in the first half.

The Oredigger defense then added a safety when Ian McFadden blocked a punt on the Hardrocker one yard line and had the ball deflect out of the back of the end zone, extending the lead to 35-7 with 3:03.

A 63-yard kick return by Renken on the ensuing free kick set Mines up at the SDSMT 10 yard line, and after two plays, Palmer added his second one-yard touchdown run of the day with 2:19 on the clock to put Mines up 42-7 after the Llewellyn PAT was good. The score would hold until halftime.

Brown opened up the third quarter by connecting with Diamond Gillis on a 36-yard touchdown (Brown's third of the day) to push the lead to 48-7 with 11:43 remaining in the third quarter.

The two teams traded punts until Palmer capped off a 10-play, 72-yard drive when he rumbled in from one yard out for his third touchdown of the day - moving the lead to 55-7.

Jeff Grenfell would cause a fumble on the next Hardrocker possession, and a recovery by Shawn Kobylinski allowed Joe Schneider to add his second passing touchdown of the season in relief of Brown by connecting with Ellis on a nine-yard scoring pass to move the lead to 62-7 with 1:00 remaining in the third quarter.

Billy Sprague then stopped De'Andre Bolden in the end zone for a safety which pushed the lead to 64-7.

Mines would go three-and-out on its next possession, but the Hardrockers would have their best scoring opportunity since the first quarter thwarted when Matt Webb forced a fumble that was picked up by Sprague, who returned it 73 yards for a touchdown. Llewellyn's extra point would be good, bringing the score to 71-7 and that would hold as the final.

Mines recorded five sacks and forced five turnovers during the game, including three interceptions – one each by Laudenslager, McFadden and Tyler Palmer.

The offense grounded out 89 total plays while recording 492 yards to give the squad 1,182 offensive yards through the first two games of the season.

Brown completed 30-of-48 passes for 349 yards and three touchdowns with scoring passes going to Ellis, Doucet and Gillis. He also carried nine times for 11 yards for a total of 360 yards of total offense.

Palmer carried 11 times for 63 yards and added three one-yard touchdown runs, while sophomore Tevin Champagne carried seven times for 43 yards to account for the bulk of Mines' 121 rushing yards.

Ellis led the team with six catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns while Doucet added six receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown. Gillis finished with 59 yards and a touchdown on four receptions and Renken added 32 receiving yards on five receptions.

Renken also added 168 yards on four returns for a total of 200 all-purpose yards and Llewellyn finished with 13 points in the contest after finishing 2-for-2 on field goal attempts and knocking in 7-of-9 extra points.

Tyler Denson led the defense with 9 total tackles, a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss from his inside linebacker position. Fellow backer Chad McGraw followed with eight tackles (three solo) and four tackles for loss while Sprague added seven tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, a safety and a 73-yard fumble return for a touchdown. Kelly Zimmerman added seven stops (two solo), three tackles for loss and a sack to the Digger defensive output.  

The team will return home to open up the RMAC schedule on Saturday, September 15, when it hosts Black Hills State at Harry Campbell Field at noon.

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