The Orediggers aren’t done yet.
Riding an explosive performance from quarterback John Matocha, the Colorado School of Mines football team overcame a slow start to beat Minnesota State 48-45 on Saturday at Marv Kay Stadium and advance in the NCAA Division II football playoffs.
The Orediggers will go on the road to meet a familiar foe, second-ranked Angelo State, next Saturday in the regional final. Angelo State, which beat Bemidji State 33-7 on Saturday, took down Mines in a 30-27 overtime thriller on Sept. 10.
Mines (11-2) hasn’t lost since, ripping off 11 straight wins while scoring 30-plus points in each victory.
Mines had to survive a game Minnesota State (10-3) squad to advance in the second round, outlasting the Mavericks in a back-and-fourth shootout that produced 926 yards of total offense.
Matocha did the heavy lifting for Mines, throwing for 307 yards and four touchdowns and running for a season-high 106 yards and a score. Michael Zeman finished with 74 yards and a TD on the ground, while Josh Johnston hauled in three touchdown passes.
The Mavericks raced out to a 21-7 lead after one quarter before Matocha took over.
The senior quarterback ran in a six-yard score to pull within a touchdown with 13:09 left in the second quarter, then closed out the half with a pair of scoring passes to Johnston to knot the game at 28 going into the break. Another TD pass to Johnston, this time from 3 yards out to start the third quarter, gave Mines its first lead since midway through in the first quarter.
Zeman ran in a two-yard touchdown to put Mines ahead 45-31 with 11:20 to go, and the Orediggers held off a desperate Minnesota State rally after that to move on.
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