Oredigger Rally Falls Short In Season-Ending Loss To No. 21 CSC, 20-14
CHADRON, Neb. – The Colorado School of Mines football team nearly overcame a 20-point second-half deficit, but a pair of late Oredigger rallies were thwarted, which enabled home-standing and 21st-ranked Chadron State to escape with a 20-14 victory on Saturday afternoon in Chadron, Neb.
Mines (6-5, 4-5) was led offensively by sophomore running back Tevin Champagne, who notched 118 rushing yards on 21 carries (5.6 yards per carry) and a touchdown in snowy conditions at Don Beebe Stadium.
Sophomore quarterback Matt Brown finished 14-of-39 for 132 yards and two interceptions while adding 39 rushing yards on 13 carries, including a 10-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Champagne also led all receivers with six receptions for a total of 21 yards, while Jerrod Doucet added 71 receiving yards on four catches in his final game in a Mines' uniform.
Fellow senior David Pawelek added 40 receiving yards on four catches. He and Doucet ended the regular season as the top two pass catchers in the conference with 85 and 82 receptions, respectively.
Cody Renken finished tied for seventh in the RMAC with 65 receptions despite not playing in the squad's final three games after suffering a season-ending injury in the squad's 34-7 win over Colorado Mesa.
Billy Sprague led the defense with 11 tackles on the day while junior Tyler Denson added 10, including a sack, to record his seventh game with at least 10 tackles. The New Braunfels, Texas, native ended his 2012 campaign with 10 or more tackles in five-straight contests.
Senior Henry Kaetzer posted nine stops in his final game in Silver and Blue, while Trevor Stubbs and Jake Utley notched six stops apiece.
Senior Taylor Accardi closed out his storied career with a 40.3 average on three punts, including two that were downed inside the CSC (9-2, 8-1 RMAC) 20 yard line. The All-American set a new NCAA Division II season record with a 51.1 yards per punt average, which breaks the 30-punt minimum mark of 49.1 by Steve Ecker of Shippensburg that was set in 1965. He finished one punt shy of breaking his own 2011 record of 48.6 yards per kick on a minimum of 50 attempts after posting 49 punts during the 2012 season.
More importantly, Accardi will end his time in Golden as the all-time NCAA Division II leader in career punting average with career mark of 46.1 on 203 punts. He breaks the old mark of 44.9 that was set by Jeff Williams of Adams State (2002-05).
Chadron State posted the only score in the first quarter with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Jonn McLain to Glen Clinton, which put the Eagles up 7-0.
CSC increased its lead to 14-0 when McLain found Allan Schmaltz on a 24-yard scoring pass, and the lead was increased to 20-0 when McLain and Nathan Ross connected on a 29-yard scoring pass.
Mines got on the board with 2:58 to play in the third quarter when Champagne rumbled in from three yards out to trim the lead to 20-7.
Brown added a 10-yard touchdown run with 9:32 to play to cut the CSC lead to 20-14.
Mines' best opportunity to score after that came when Ian McFadden caused a McLain fumble on the CSC 15 yard line with 4:37 remaining that was recovered by Matt Craighead. The Orediggers tried to punch it in from there but were forced to give the ball back to the Eagles after failing to convert on fourth down at the Eagles' 10 yard line.
The Orediggers would get one more shot on offense with 2:19 to play, but a 4th-and-18 pass by Brown would be intercepted to close out the game.
The 2012 Mines senior class closed out its career with a 31-14 record for a combined .688 winning percentage, including the 2010 RMAC Championship.