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ThunderWolves cool off Orediggers

File photo.
File photo.

Entering Saturday’s game against Colorado State University-Pueblo, the Orediggers of Colorado School of Mines were the hottest team in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. They were undefeated, atop the conference standings, and averaging 43 points per game. Saturday that all came to an end with a 20-12 loss to the ThunderWolves.

Mines had an opportunity to try and tie the game in the final minute, but CSU-Pueblo’s defense stepped up when it was needed most and stopped the Orediggers on fourth down to seal the victory for the ThunderWolves.

CSU-Pueblo’s defense was the highlight of the game, holding the Mines offense to 349 yards when they were averaging almost 600 per game. Senior defensive end Darius Allen led the way for the ThunderWolves with three sacks and a force fumble that led to a last second field-goal in the first half.

The ThunderWolves led from start to finish; for the second straight week in a row they scored a touchdown on their opening drive of the game. Running back Cameron McDondle ran it in from 2 yards out to cap off a 58 yard drive. McDondle finished the game with 134 yards on 29 carries along with the touchdown.

After the touchdown by CSU-Pueblo, it was a defensive battle until Mines hit a field-goal less than a minute into the second quarter to cut into the lead at 7-3.

It wasn’t long before the ThunderWolves came back and answered with points of their own. Chris Bonner hit Kieran Duncan in the end zone for a 15 yard touchdown pass to make it 14-3. Bonner completed 19 of his 29 passing attempts and threw for 242 yards and one touchdown. Duncan finished with 129 yards and one touchdown on five grabs.

With less than two minutes left in the half, the Orediggers would get another field-goal by kicker Avery Llewellyn from 33 yards out to make it 14-6.

After a 19 yard run by McDondle and a 39 yard pass from Bonner to Duncan, CSU-Pueblo quickly got inside Mines territory that would lead to a 28 yard field-goal attempt by Greg O’Donnell. O’Donnell missed and it left 30 seconds for Mines to work.

On second down at their own 36, Mines quarterback Justin Dovrak dropped back to pass, Allen strip sacked him and CSU-Pueblo recovered with three seconds left.

The ThunderWolves sent O’Donnell back in for another field-goal attempt, this time from 43 yards. O’Donnell would make the kick to give CSU-Pueblo a 17-6 lead at halftime.

It was an even lower scoring second half.

CSU-Pueblo would get a field-goal early in the third quarter to make it 20-6. Mines, late in the fourth quarter, would put together their best drive of the day, going 91 yards on 10 plays in less than four minutes to score a touchdown on an 8 yard touchdown pass from Dovrak to Diamond Gillis.

Mines defense forced CSU-Pueblo to punt, giving them the ball back with 3:17 left in the game. They started at their own 20 yard line and got as far as CSU-Pueblo’s 35. But on 4th and 1, the ThunderWolves got the defensive stop they needed to win the game when Dovrak could not complete the first down pass to Gillis.

With the win, the ThunderWolves move to 7-1, and the Orediggers move to 7-1. Next the ThunderWolves head back home to take on Black Hills State, Nov.1 at 2 p.m.