After defeating South Dakota Mines 29-17 on Saturday in a game that was considered a tossup when it kicked off, the Chadron State football team will try to duplicate that effort Saturday when it hosts another group of future engineers, the Colorado Mines Orediggers.
The Eagles are now 5-3 for the season and 5-2 in the RMAC. Mines is 4-4 both overall and in the conference.
The Orediggers have been tough in recent years. The Eagles still lead the all-time series 23-16, but Mines has won the last four contests, including a 40-14 verdict in Golden last year. In that game, Justin Dvorak, who would become the second Mines quarterback to win the Harlon Hill Trophy, completed 30 of 41 passes for 384 yards and five touchdowns.
Altogether, Dvorak threw for 4,012 yards and 48 touchdowns last fall. Thankfully, he and three of his classmates on offense who made first-team all-RMAC have graduated, but the Orediggers are still potent.
Through eight games this year, Mines is fourth in the RMAC in total offense with a 461-yard average, but there’s stronger emphasis on the running game. The Orediggers have rushed for 1,914 yards and passed for 1,774.
Chadron State is sixth in total offense at 420.5 yards a game. The Eagles have run for 1,263 yards and thrown for 2,101.
The Orediggers’ Cameron Mayberry, a 5-11, 200-pound sophomore, is the conference’s leading rusher with 153 carries for 991 yards and 12 touchdowns. The new quarterback, sophomore Ben Bottinger, has completed 125 of 217 passes for 1,671 yards and a dozen TDs.
Mines is on the young side this year. Just seven seniors are listed on the two-deep depth chart. The Eagles have 12 seniors on their two-deep, nine of them on defense.
The Orediggers were blasted 38-7 in their season opener by CSU-Pueblo. They also have lost to Colorado Mesa 38-36, Azusa Pacific 35-21 and South Dakota Mines two weeks ago 37-29 in Rapid City.
Mines has defeated New Mexico Highlands 70-0, Western State 45-7, Fort Lewis 41-7 and edged Dixie State 19-17 last Saturday in Golden.
The Dixie State game wasn’t as close as the score would indicate. Cameron carried 25 times for 217 yards and Mines had a 430 to 286 bulge in total net yards. The Orediggers were never forced to punt.