by Brian Wagenaar

Mountaineers will take on the Colorado Mesa University Mavericks this Saturday. Photo courtesy of Mountaineer Athletics.

The Mountaineer football team came up just short on Saturday, Sept. 2, losing to the Orediggers from the Colorado School of Mines on the road in Golden. The game, tightly contested throughout, went to overtime before a game-ending Oredigger rushing touchdown sealed the deal, making it 20-14. 

The Mountaineers move to 4-1 on the season ahead of their Homecoming matchup with New Mexico Highlands University, out of Las Vegas, N.M., this Saturday, Oct. 9 at 1 p.m. 

The Orediggers now stand atop the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) at 5-0 (3-0 in RMAC), tied with Colorado State University-Pueblo (CSU-Pueblo) for a share of the conference lead. With the loss, the Mountaineers dropped to 3rd in the conference standings, with 5 conference games left to play, including the season’s final regular-season game against undefeated CSU-Pueblo. 

The Mountaineers, led by a strong defensive effort, fought grittily against the Orediggers, currently the fifth-ranked Division-II team, which should bode well for their remaining schedule. On Oct. 4th, the Mountaineers were the Division-II team with the most votes outside the American Football Coaches Association’s official top 25 poll. 

Once again, the Mountaineer’s defensive front showed up big, recording seven sacks in total, including two and a half from senior defensive end Will Lydle, a 2019 first team RMAC selection who is listed at 6-1 and 270 lbs. Lydle now has five and a half sacks on the season, including four and a half in just the last two games. Eight different Mountaineer defenders recorded a sack during the game. 

On offense, the Mountaineers generated 304 yards of offense, just off the Oredigger’s 319 total yards. Redshirt junior quarterback Connor Desch and redshirt sophomore running back Josh Cummings both played well enough to win, with Desch going 14-27 for 169 yards passing, and Cummings racking up a steady 86 yards on 18 tries. Cummings is closing in on 500 yards for the season, sitting at 482 currently. 

The Mountaineers are favored at home on Saturday, with the Cowboys of New Mexico Highlands sitting at 8th in the RMAC at a record of 1-4, including a 30-point loss to Chadron St. last week. 

Saturday’s football game will be followed by a Mountaineer volleyball matchup against Colorado Mesa University at 6 p.m.