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N.M. Highlands pulls off 40-34 upset of #20 CSM

GOLDEN, Colo. – New Mexico Highlands University defeated 20th-ranked Colorado School of Mines by the score of 40-34 on Saturday afternoon, September 17th, in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) at Campbell Field.  BOX SCORE

The Cowboys (3-0 overall, 1-0 RMAC) jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on a pair of long touchdown runs by Jermaine Holmes.  Holmes' first effort, a 72-yard scamper, came at the 8:56 mark and his second scoring jaunt, this time from 39 yards out, came with 2:40 remaining in the opening period.

Nick Ponce's 17-yard touchdown pass to Deandre Green early in the second quarter (12:38; kick blocked) gave the Cowboys a 20-0 advantage.  Mines, however, responded with two Dan Palmer touchdown runs and a fumble recovery for a score by Alex Laudenslager in the next nine minutes to move ahead 21-20.  Green caught another scoring pass from Ponce – this time from 60 yards out – as NMHU regained the lead at 3:36 (kick failed), but a 35-yard field goal by Colin Baker with four seconds remaining in the first half pulled the Orediggers to within nine points (33-24) at the break.

After lighting up the scoreboard for 43 points in the second period, neither team scored in the third quarter.  Baker's second field goal of the contest, a 26-yard boot midway through the fourth quarter (8:51), drew Mines with within six points of NMHU, and Clay Garcia's 38-yard touchdown pass to Eric Shannon less than two minutes later (7:22) gave #20 CSM a 34-33 advantage.

Ponce was intercepted on each of the Cowboys' next two possessions, but NMHU forced CSM to punt on both subsequent Oredigger possessions.  The Cowboys' final possession, which began at the NMHU 20-yard line with 1:10 remaining in the game, was capped with the third scoring connection between Ponce and Green with just five ticks left.

Holmes finished the day with 188 yards on 13 carries (14.5 avg.) and Ponce completed 28-of-49 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns (three interceptions).  Green finished with eight receptions for 145 yards and three scores.  NMHU's Jordan Campbell (3.5 TFL) led all players with 10 tackles.  NMHU came away victorious despite being called for 20 penalties (185 yards) and converting on just 1-of-16 third-down chances.

Palmer finished with 84 yards on 23 carries for the Orediggers, who converted on just 1-of-19 third-down opportunities.  Garcia, who completed 29 throws for 338 yards and one score, attempted a CSM single-game record 65 passing attempts.  Garcia, the 2010 Harlon Hill Trophy finalist, was picked off on three occasions.  Jerrod Doucet had nine receptions for 99 yards while Kelly Zimmerman and Henry Kaetzer finished with nine tackles apiece.

The Orediggers (2-1 overall, 0-1 RMAC) will play at Western New Mexico University on Saturday afternoon, September 24th, at 12:00 p.m. (MT) at Ben Altamirano Memorial Stadium in Silver City, N.M.  LIVE STATS, LIVE VIDEO & LIVE AUDIO

-- OREDIGGERS --

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