GOLDEN, Colo. – Colorado School of Mines running back Dan Palmer rushed for 94 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown with just over three minutes remaining to lift the No. 23-ranked Orediggers to a 31-24 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference victory over Chadron State Saturday afternoon.
Palmer’s TD run, which was his 19th of the season, closed out the pivotal Oredigger drive that began on their own 21-yard line with 5:45 to play.
Mines converted both of its third downs on the scoring drive and averted disaster when two Chadron State penalties – defensive holding and a facemask – wiped out a fumble the Eagles recovered on the 39. Instead, the Orediggers received new life, and after an incomplete pass, Palmer carried the ball for 35 yards on back-to-back carries and found the end zone from 21 yards for the deciding score.
The Eagles (5-5 overall, 5-3 RMAC) had a chance to tie the game but turned the ball over on downs after failing to convert on fourth and 10 at their 34-yard line.
Things weren’t looking well for Chadron State early in the game. Mines scored a field goal on its first possession and owned a 17-3 lead after Tevin Champagne scored on a 4-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter.
However, the Eagles got things going and scored their first touchdown on their ensuing possession when Chapman Ham hauled in a 26-yard pass from quarterback Brandon Gorsuch.
After the TD, Chadron State’s defense stepped up and forced the Orediggers to turn the ball over on downs at the Eagle 41 with 1:46 left in the half.
Gorsuch completed all five of his passes on the 59-yard march, including a 2-yard touchdown toss to Ham with just two seconds remaining.
The Eagles maintained their momentum in the second half, scoring on the opening possession when Gorsuch, who completed 22 of 37 passes for 233 yards, found Jeff Alcorn all alone in the middle of the field for a 19-yard hookup.
Mines immediately responded, though, traveling 65 yards in 11 plays on the ensuing drive. Quarterback Clay Garcia, who completed 20 of 27 passes for 260 yards tied the game at 24-24 when he plunged in for a 1-yard score.
The teams traded possessions the remainder of the game until Palmer put things away late in the fourth quarter.
In addition to Gorsuch, CSC had several stars on offense. Tailback Glen Clinton rushed for 124 yards on 21 carries, Jeff Alcorn had seven receptions for 79 yards and Ham scored two TDs.
Defensively, Kevin Lindholm and Trelan Taylor led the Eagles with eight tackles apiece.
Chadron State will host Colorado Mesa University in its season finale Saturday, Nov. 12. Kickoff is set for noon.
CSC 0 17 7 0 – 24
CSM 3 14 7 7 – 31
CSM – Colin Baker 29 field goal
CSM – Matt Brown 3 pass from Clay Garcia (Colin Baker kick)
CSC – Alex Ferdinand 30 field goal
CSM – Tevin Champagne 4 run (Colin Baker kick)
CSC – Chapman Ham 26 pass from Brandon Gorsuch (Alex Ferdinand kick)
CSC – Chapman Ham 2 pass from Brandon Gorsuch (Alex Ferdinand kick)
CSC – Jeff Alcorn 19 pass from Brandon Gorsuch (Alex Ferdinand kick)
CSM – Clay Garcia 1 run (Colin Baker kick)
CSM – Dan Palmer 21 run (Colin Baker kick)
—Alex Helmbrecht, Sports Information Director