SPEARFISH — Black Hills State University’s football team dropped a 56-7 decision to Colorado Mesa at a snowy, windswept Lyle Hare Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

“We had a guy at the ball carrier a lot of times, and we failed to bring the ball carrier down to the ground,” Yellow Jackets’ head coach Josh Breske said. “On offense, we failed to get good yards on first down.”

Black Hills State’s Cole Miller recovered a fumble at Colorado Mesa’s 42-yard line. The drive ended three plays later when Chance Eben fired a 27-yard touchdown pass to Hasaan Williams. Sean Dorney’s kick put the Yellow Jackets ahead 7-0.

The visiting Mavericks took over at their 27-yard line. Jesse Rodriquez sprinted 73 yards for a touchdown, with Lucas Ruiz Diaz’s kick tying matters at 7.

Colorado Mesa got the ball back when Damar’ren Mitchell intercepted a tipped pass at the Black Hills State 46. A seven-play drive ended with D’Aris McMillan’s 4-yard touchdown run. The conversion by Ruiz Diaz extended the Mavericks’ lead to 14-7.

The next Yellow Jacket drive started at their 27. Riley Glynn ran 9 and 5 yards for first downs as Black Hills State moved into Mavericks’ territory but was forced to punt.

Colorado Mesa reached the Yellow Jacket 17 early in the second quarter. Black Hills State’s Jarrell Ganaway blocked the field goal attempt to keep the score at 14-7.

The Yellow Jackets used Nolan Susel’s 3-yard run on fourth and short to keep the drive going. Teammate Jarett Jenson caught a 13-yard pass for a first down, but Black Hills State had to punt.

Colorado Mesa scored just before the half on Gavin Herberg’s 1-yard touchdown run on fourth and goal. Ruiz Diaz’s conversion made the halftime score 21-7.

The Mavericks added two touchdowns in the third quarter. Mitchell returned an interception 41 yards for a touchdown, and McMillan found the end zone on a 3-yard run. Ruiz Diaz kicked two conversions for a 35-7 Colorado Mesa lead.

Black Hills State moved from its 14-yard line to the Mavericks’ 17. Susel (7-yard run, 38-yard catch) and Eben (7-yard run) recorded first downs. An unsuccessful field goal try ended this drive.

Colorado Mesa used three fourth-quarter touchdowns for the final margin. They came courtesy of McMillan (5-yard run), Josh Bist (11-yard catch), and BJ Brown (14-yard catch).

Breske said the Yellow Jackets’ passing game showed progress, especially in the first half. Black Hills State finished with 157 yards.

“When you’re asked to make a play, you have to step up and make the play,” Breske said. “Right now, we’re struggling to do those things.”

This abbreviated 2020 schedule serves as a huge blessing for the program, in Breske’s view. “Had we not had these five games this fall, would we be making these mistakes next fall in a full season?” he asked.

Statistical leaders follow.

Passing — BHSU: Chance Eben 10 completions in 18 attempts, 140 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions; Tyler Hammons 5-12, 43 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions. Colorado Mesa: Gavin Herberg 10-20, 143 yards, 1 touchdown, 0 interceptions.

Net rushing — BHSU: Nolan Susel 17 carries for 24 yards, Riley Glynn 5-14, Eben 7-5. Colorado Mesa: Jesse Rodriquez 24-158, Herberg 15-87.

Receiving — BHSU: Susel 6 catches for 93 yards, Jarett Jenson 4-25, Hasaan Williams 2-24. Colorado Mesa: Jacob Whitmer 5-89.

Total tackles — BHSU: Bailey Rosenstrauch 20 (9 solo and 11 assist), Ryder Blair 13 (2 solo and 11 assist), Jarrell Ganaway 8 (4 solo and 4 assist). Colorado Mesa: Remington Green 11 (6 solo and 5 assist).

Black Hills State (0-2) will visit Chadron State this Saturday, Oct. 24. Colorado Mesa will being a 2-0 record into its home game against South Dakota School of Mines & Technology that day.

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