June 19, 2013

Colorado School of Mines added to football schedule

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman has added an 11th contest to its 2013 football season against Colorado School of Mines. 

The Eagles will travel to Golden, Colo., in week two for a Sept. 14 game at 2 p.m. (Eastern) with the Orediggers. 

"It's a chance to see another part of the world and to go up against a well-coached football team that plays very intelligently," Carson-Newman head football coach Ken Sparks said. "They threw the ball about 85 percent of the time last year and it'll be a little bit of an unknown for us because we haven't played anyone out that way in a while." 

The Eagles last foray into the Mountain Time Zone came in 2007 with a 35-13 win over Utah-based Dixie State.  The Eagles have made two trips to the Centennial State, coming away with a national championship in 1983 with a 36-28 win over Mesa State in Grand Junction, Colo.

Sparks is just looking forward to some extended time with the Eagles.    

"It's a tremendous ministry opportunity and an opportunity for growth sharing some extended time with each other," Sparks said. 

Mines went 6-5 in 2012 and 4-5 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.  The Orediggers boasted a prolific passing offense that averaged 367.4 yards per game. 

Junior quarterback Matt Brown returns after posting 352 yards per game through the air.  He completed 347 of his 596 passes with 31 touchdowns against 15 interceptions.  Brown led the nation in completions and was fifth in yards per game. 

In comparison, record-setting Tusculum quarterback Bo Cordell led the air raid Pioneer assault with 294 yards a game and 505 completions. 

While the Orediggers to bring back their QB, Mines will have to replace Brown's top three targets. David Pawelek, Jerrod Doucet and Cody Renken all gained more than 700 yards through the air last year, but all depart the program due to graduation.  Pawelek had the top mark with 1,047 yards.  The trio also combined for 22 of the Orediggers 34 passing TDs. 

The leading returning receiver is rising junior Diamond Gillis, who started 10 games and caught 45 passes for 501 yards and five scores. 

The Oredigger running game was sparse in 2012, accounting for 972 yards for the year - however, the top three backs are back.  The leading rusher was Dan Palmer.  The senior only played in five games, but accounted for 246 yards.  He was granted an extra year of eligibility due to medical hardship. Tevin Champagne gained 211 yards last season before going down with an injury. Also returning is Zack Newnam, who filled in as a running back before Palmer and Champagne went down with their injuries. 

Defensively, Mines returns its top six tacklers from 2012 and seven of its top nine.  Key losses come at linebacker in the form of Jarrad McKay and Henry Kaetzer.  However, 107-tackle performer Tyler Denson is back as is Chad McGraw, who forced eight fumbles and totaled 78 tackles.

The defense as a whole allowed 407 yards and 23.5 points per game.  

Last year could have been far better for Mines, if not for close games.  Four of the Orediggers five losses came by margins of defeat of two touchdowns or less.  The lone blowout was to Western New Mexico, 54-28. 

The Orediggers lost by 14 to then second-ranked CSU-Pueblo on Oct. 13 and finished the season with a 20-14 loss to no. 21 Chadron State.  Mines put up 45 points or more on four occasions last year, including 57 and 71 in back-to-back weeks to open the year against William Jewel College and South Dakota School of Mines.

This will be the first meeting between the two schools.

-CN-