Diggers Capitalize On Red Zone Chances In 45-6 Win Over Western State
GUNNISON – The Colorado School of Mines football team dominated the opponent in all three phases of the game for the second-straight week on Saturday in posting a 45-6 win over Western State at the Mountaineer Bowl in Gunnison.
Mines (6-3, 4-3 RMAC) was able to generate points on offense, defense and special teams for the second time in as many games in helping head coach Bob Stitt record his 90th career victory as a head coach at Mines.
The Orediggers assured themselves of the 39th winning season in program history with the victory, including the sixth straight and the 11th in 13 seasons under Stitt.
Mines scored on five of its six red zone opportunities on the day while holding Western State (1-8, 1-6 RMAC) to just 5-of-17 on third down conversions.
Sophomore quarterback Matt Brown finished 38-of-55 for 350 yards and three touchdowns through the air while adding a team-high 37 rushing yards on 10 carries with a score for a total of 387 yards of total offense. Brown also recorded his fifth game with at least four total touchdowns and his sixth game with at least 350 passing yards on Saturday.
Senior tight end David Pawelek led the receiving corps by tying the school record for catches with 16 for 179 yards and two trips to paydirt. Pawelek's 16 catches tie the record set by teammate Jerrod Doucet in Mines' 42-37 loss to New Mexico Highlands earlier this season. Pawelek's 16 receptions also set a new NCAA Division II record for receptions by a tight end - breaking the mark of 15 that was set on eight occasions and most recently by Kory Wright oof Concord on Oct. 27, 2001.
Pawelek, who entered the game ranked second in the conference in receptions and third in receiving yards, took over the conference lead with 78 receptions on the year. The Smithson Valley, Texas, native is also currently second in the conference with 947 receiving yards.
Jimmy Ellis added eight grabs for 46 yards while adding a 54-yard punt return for a total of 100 all-purpose yards. Doucet posted 67 receiving yards on seven catches and Tevin Champagne added a 13-yard touchdown reception and a seven-yard touchdown run in his return from injury.
Junior Tyler Denson again led the defense with nine tackles (seven solo) with a tackle for loss. The New Braunfels, Texas, product has posted 38 tackles and six tackles for loss over his last three games.
The Orediggers held Western State to just 231 yards of offense at an average of 3.2 yards per play in the win.
Linebacker Kole Kadavy posted his second-straight game with a defensive touchdown after forcing a fumble, picking it up, and scampering 35 yards for a touchdown. He returned an interception 73 yards for a touchdown a week ago in Mines' 34-7 win over Colorado Mesa in Golden. Kadavy also added an interception and three solo tackles.
Chad McGraw added two tackles for loss, including a sack, on seven solo stops while Billy Sprague notched seven stops as well.
Avery Llewellyn was perfect on all his kicks once again, this time a perfect 6-for-6 on extra points while adding a 21-yard field goal in a 17-point second quarter. He also added two touchbacks on eight kickoffs.
All-American Taylor Accardi, the nation's leader in yards per punt, averaged 44.5 yards per kick on two punts.
Brown opened up the scoring in the first quarter after he got loose in the second level and rumbled into the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown. Llewellyn's extra point put the final mark on a 12-play, 76-yard drive that gave Mines an early 7-0 lead.
Kadavy picked off the second pass on the ensuing Western State drive to set Mines up at the WSCU 18 yard line. The Orediggers needed just five plays to score, this time on a seven-yard rush by Champagne to put Mines up 14-0 after Llewellyn's kick was good.
It would take until the waning minutes of the first quarter before the Mountaineers could record a first down. Early in the second quarter, the Mountaineers were forced to punt to Ellis, who recorded his 54-yard punt return to set Mines up at the WSCU 30 yard line. That possession would result in Llewellyn's 21-yarder, giving Mines a 17-0 lead with 11:39 to play in the half.
Another three-and-out by the Mines defense gave the ball to the offense, and Mines marched 81 yards on 10 plays for its next score, this time a five-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Pawelek – putting Mines up 24-0.
The ensuing possession resulted in another three-and-out for the Mountaineer offense, and Mines took the ball and capped off an 11-play, 60-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Champagne, which pushed the Oredigger lead to 31-0 with 3:52 to play before half.
A Steven Ballard field goal with 9:19 remaining in the third quarter got WSCU on the board, and that would serve as the lone score in the third quarter.
Ballard added a 47-yard field goal with 9:00 remaining in the game to cut the Oredigger lead to 31-6.
Mines increased the lead to 38-6 with a 11-yard touchdown from Brown to Pawelek with 7:13 to play and the Orediggers closed out the game when Kadavy forced a L.A. McGee fumble at the WSCU 35 yard line, picked it up, and ran 35 yards for the score to bring the game to its final at 45-6.
Mines will close out the home portion of its schedule next weekend when the team hosts Adams State during Parent's Day at Campbell Field in Golden.