SAN ANGELO, TX. — In recent seasons, two of the more exciting teams in all of Division II football have been Angelo State and Colorado School of Mines, so it’s only fitting that these teams will meet once again for a trip to the national semifinals this weekend.

Last season, in the first-ever meeting between ASU and CSM, the Orediggers held off a late rally by the Rams, advancing to the final four in Division II.

This season, back in week two, Angelo State would once again head back up to Golden, Colorado, but this time, get revenge on the Orediggers, picking up a thrilling victory in overtime thanks to an Asa Fuller field goal to win it.

A lot has changed though since the last time these two met almost three months ago. School of Mines has rattled off 11 straight victories since starting the season off 0-2, and finds themselves back playing December football.

What hasn’t changed? Angelo State still has yet to lose a game this season. 2021 was a banner year for the Rams on the gridiron, but now they are hungry for more as the journey to McKinney and a National Championship continues this weekend.

LOOKING BACK

The Rams picked up their first victory in the 2022 playoffs last Saturday, a 33-7 victory over No. 4 Bemidji State, advancing to the Quarterfinals for the third time in program history. Quarterback Zach Bronkhorst would throw for a season-high 337 passing yards, and two touchdowns, both to Nate Omayebu III. The defense would force the Beavers to five interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown by Kason McCullough-Cooper.

Colorado School of Mines would pick up their second victory of the postseason, in a thriller against Minnesota State 48-45, erasing a 21-7 first-quarter deficit. Oredigger Quarterback John Matocha threw four touchdowns on the day, three to Max McLeod. School of Mines would extend their lead to 10 late in the fourth, before holding off the Mavericks to earn the victory.

SCOUTING THE OREDIGGERS

Colorado School of Mines comes into Saturday’s match-up with the top-scoring offense in Division II led by Matocha, a Harlon Hill nominee who is first in Division II in passing touchdowns (41), second in passing yards (4,059), and tied for fourth in the country in fewest interceptions thrown with six.

The Orediggers have two wide receivers in the top ten in both receiving touchdowns and receiving yards: Max McLeod and Josh Johnston. McLeod is tied for fourth in Division II with 15 receiving touchdowns, and eighth in receiving yards with 1,216, while Johnston is tied for seventh with 11 receiving touchdowns and seventh in receiving yards with 1,221.

CONSISTENCY IS KEY

One thing has been certain all year for the Rams on both sides of the ball all season long. They have been right around their average of 33 points per game, while the Rams’ fourth-ranked scoring defense in the country allows very little from their opposition. Offensively, Angelo State spreads the wealth around as to who finds the back of the end zone, while defensively, is as healthy as they have been all year, and look to continue pulling the rope again this weekend.

Kick-off is set for 1 p.m. at LeGrand Stadium on Saturday. Stay with conchovalleyhomepage.com throughout the week, and highlights and postgame following the game Saturday night.