By Brad Blume
Sports Information Director
South Dakota School of Mines
RAPID CITY --- The South Dakota School of Mines football team is off to one of its best starts in over 20 years posting a 2-0 record on the season. The Hardrockers look to extend their winning mark Saturday when they welcome the Mayville State Comets to O’Harra Stadium in a non-conference bout.
If the ‘Rockers can put up another ‘W’ it would be the first time since 1981 that a SDM football team has started the season with a 3-0 record.
But that isn’t going to be an easy feat for the Miners as the Comets represent the toughest team the Hardrockers have faced this season --- and the game, slated for 1 p.m., is one of the biggest in South Dakota Mines history.
Three wins to start the season would go a long way with the current Hardrocker team and head coach Dan Kratzer, now in his third year at the helm, but the Comets are not going to a pushover by any means.
Last year, Mayville State came to South Dakota Mines and defeated the Hardrockers, 12-6, after scoring a touchdown late in the game. It was the first and only win the Comets had on the season.
Mayville State will be looking to do the same thing again this year, coming to Rapid City with a 0-2 mark after losing to the University of Minnesota – Crookston, 21-0, and then falling to Minnesota State University-Moorhead, 21-7. South Dakota Mines on the other hand earned victories over Trinity Bible College, 29-0, and Haskell Indian Nation University, 17-3.
The Hardrocker defense is looking strong this year and has not allowed a touchdown in the two games they have played and have recorded seven interceptions. Junior linebacker Tyrell Anderson leads the team in tackles with 14, while freshman defensive back Tom Lunzman is having an outstanding season, picking off four interceptions so far this year. He has 88 total yards returned after the interception, plus scored a touchdown. He is not only leading the conference in the category, but also the nation.
Mayville State also has a stout defense, ranked first in the country for not allowing the opposing team a fourth-down conversion. They have a pair of linebackers who seem to be in on every play. Junior Johnny Stilwell is ranked first in the Dakota Athletic Conference for total tackles with 26, averaging 13 per game, while teammate Karson Storey is third in the DAC with 21 tackles, averaging 10.5 per game.
Offense seems to fizzle for the Comets as their top rusher has 105 yards for the season and no touchdowns.
The Hardrockers on the other hand have some impressive stats over the first two contests. Junior transfer Joshua Jones has two touchdowns on the year and a total of 236 rushing yards. Senior Lukas Munsell also has a rushing touchdown along with a receiving TD. He also returns punts and has amassed 339 all purpose yards to lead the team.
In the passing game, sophomore quarterback Jason Beilstein has completed 20 of 36 passes for 246 yards with just one interception and two passing TDs. The Comets have kind of a quarterback by committee thing happening. Total, Mayville has completed 19 of 55 passes for 174 yards with five interceptions and one touchdown pass.
Despite how things may look on paper, the Hardrockers face their toughest opponent of the season so far and with both squads to face each other during the last game of the season in a conference matchup, Saturday’s game could have strong implications as to which way either team’s season will go --- up or down.
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Devereaux Library. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.