The South Dakota School of Mines football team withstood a late rally by Western State Colorado University as is closed out the season on a high note, defeating the Mountaineers, 35-16, Saturday afternoon during the final Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference game in Gunnison, Colo.
The Hardrockers scored on two rushing touchdowns of 65 yards or more in the first half and added a defensive touchdown in the third period before the Mountaineers came alive in the fourth quarter.
Western State scored 14 unanswered points in the early goings of the final frame and had a lot of momentum behind them.
The Hardrockers were able to regroup and score a pair of late touchdowns to seal the win.
Mines’ first score came with 8:45 left in the first quarter when Kevin Thompson broke a big one, busting through the middle of the offensive line and raced 69 yards in for the touchdown.
Dorian Cowart would add an 80-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to give the Hardrockers the 14-7 lead heading into the half.
Mines added to the lead toward the end of the third quarter when Western State running back Rico Tipton fumbled the ball on the end of a run. Blake Stone scooped it up and ran it back 66 yards for the TD, giving the 'Rockers a 21-2 advantage.
After two quick scores by Western State to open the fourth quarter, Cowart helped bust up the momentum swing when quarterback Jake Sullivan hit the running back on a screen pass, which he took in for a 10-yard touchdown reception at the nine minute mark of the fourth quarter.
The Hardrockers finished the game with 414 total yards, including 290 yards on the ground and another 124 through the air.
Sullivan ended Saturday's game completing 15-of-28 passes for 124 yards and two touchdown passes. He rushed for another 80 yards on 14 attempts.
Cowart led the way on the ground with 110 rushing yards on nine carries and a score while Thompson tallied 98 yards on 17 carries.
The win closes out the season for Mines as it finished with a 5-6 overall record, including a 4-6 mark in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
Colorado Mines drops BHSU to close out season
The Black Hills State University football team fell to Colorado School of Mines, 41-33, to conclude the 2017 season on Saturday afternoon.
Phydell Paris eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards for the season for the third-consecutive year, and Erick Hairston-Belcher caught two touchdowns for the Yellow Jackets in a tightly contested battle.
Black Hills State started the game with the ball, and on its opening drive, marched 75 yards down the field. The possession culminated in a Paris one-yard rushing touchdown run to give the visitors an early 6-0 lead.
The Orediggers responded with a 79-yard scoring drive of their own, and after knocking the extra point through, took a 7-6 lead with 3:26 remaining in the first quarter.
After the Colorado Mines defense began the second quarter with a pick six to take a 14-6 lead, the Yellow Jackets went 75 yards in three plays As Hairston-Belcher caught a 42-yard pass from Ryan Hommel for a touchdown.
Colorado Mines took a 21-13 lead into the half and on the second play of the third quarter, it scored a 74-yard touchdown.
However, the Yellow Jackets took over, and once again marched 75 yards down the field to score on a 27-yard rush by Payten Gilmore.
The BHSU defense forced an Oredigger punt on the following possession, giving the ball back to the offense, which took advantage as it scored on a 1-yard touchdown run by Hommel.
Down 41-33 in final moments, the Yellow Jackets had one last opportunity to tie the game, but Hommel was picked off with one minute remaining, to seal the win for the Orediggers.
Hommel finished with 319 yards, two passing touchdowns, and one rushing touchdown. Hairston-Belcher caught 10 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns, while Shandon Jones had 123 receiving.
Paris finished with 91 yards and closed out his career at Black Hills State with a school record 4,144 rushing yards.
Black Hills State finished the season at 4-6, including a 4-6 RMAC record.
Eagles offense struggles in loss to ThunderWolves
Colorado State-Pueblo's defense lived up to its reputation as the ThunderWolves made the most of their scoring opportunities Saturday afternoon on their way to defeating Chadron State College 28-6 in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Pueblo jumped out to an early advantage as it scored the only touchdown in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead into the second.
In the second quarter, the ThunderWolves would pad their lead, outscoring the Eagles 14-0 fir a 21-0 advantage at the half.
Although Chadron would score its lone touchdown of the game in the third quarter, Pueblo scored another touchdown of its own to seal the victory.
Linebacker Tyler Lewis scored the only touchdown for the Eagles as he returned an interception 22 yards.
Dalton Holst Completed 16 passes for 141 yards, while Derek Jackson finished with 11 carries for 43 yards.
Chadron State finished the season with a 6-4 record, including a 6-4 record in the RMAC.
South Dakota State beats Illinois State in OT, 27-24
BROOKINGS — Taryn Christion accounted for three touchdowns, Chase Vinatieri kicked a 43-yard field goal in overtime, and South Dakota State improved its FCS playoff chances with a 27-24 victory over Illinois State on Saturday.
South Dakota State (8-2, 5-2 Missouri Valley Conference), ranked sixth in the FCS poll, has won four straight and is a game back of North Dakota State atop the conference standings. The 17th-ranked Redbirds (6-4, 4-3) have lost two in a row.
Illinois State's James Robinson, who finished with 83 yards rushing and two touchdown runs, bullied up the middle from 5 yards out for a score to tie the game 24-24 with just over two minutes remaining.
In overtime, The Redbirds' Sean Slattery hooked his 41-yard field goal attempt before Vinatieri's kick split the uprights.
Christion threw two touchdown passes in the first half, and ran for an 84-yard score in the fourth quarter. He had 172 yards passing and ran for another 110.
North Dakota State rolls to 49-14 win over S. Dakota
FARGO, N.D. — Ty Brooks ran for three touchdowns as North Dakota State rolled to a 49-14 win over South Dakota on Saturday.
Brooks had 152 yards on nine carries for the Bison (9-1, 6-1 Missouri Valley Conference). Easton Stick threw for 307 yards and a score and ran for another touchdown. North Dakota State amassed 647 total yards and held the Coyotes (7-3, 4-3) to 419 yards.
Bruce Anderson ran for a score late in the first quarter to give the Bison a 14-7 advantage and they led the rest of the way. Seth Anderson ran 28 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter and Brooks went 54 yards for another score and NDSU was up 28-14 at the break.
The victory puts the Bison back on track after losing their first game of the season last week, a 33-21 loss at South Dakota State.
Chris Streveler had 232 yards passing and 93 yards and two touchdowns rushing for the Coyotes.
Croft, Minnesota run over Nebraska 54-21
MINNEAPOLIS — Quarterback Demry Croft ran for 183 yards and three touchdowns, Rodney Smith added 134 yards rushing and a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and Minnesota ran over Nebraska 54-21 on Saturday.
Kobe McCrary had 93 yards rushing and three touchdowns for Minnesota, which finished with season highs of 408 yards rushing and 515 yards of total offense. Croft's big day included an untouched, 73-yard touchdown run up the middle for a 20-7 lead at the start of the second quarter as he set a school record for rushing yards in a game by a quarterback.
The Gophers (5-5, 2-5 Big Ten) held Nebraska to 69 yards rushing on 33 attempts.
Sophomore quarterback Tanner Lee was 13-of-18 passing for 174 yards and a touchdown for the Cornhuskers (4-6, 3-4), but Lee was held out the second half while dealing with an illness. Redshirt freshman Patrick O'Brien replaced him and was 12 of 18 for 137 yards passing.
Minnesota native and the son of Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, JD Spielman caught nine passes for 141 yards for Nebraska.
Smith set the tone for the day by taking the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, the first time the Gophers returned an opening kickoff for a score since 1998 when Tyrone Carter had an 86-yard touchdown return.