A helluva journey

by | Jan 23, 2024 | Inside Mines, Winter 2024 | 0 comments

After an undefeated season, the Orediggers pursued an NCAA national championship once again in December 2023. Following 2022’s national title loss to Ferris State, the Orediggers went up against Arkansas’ Harding University, but their quest came to an end in a 38-7 loss.

However, the game—and the journey to get there—wasn’t without some notable moments and accolades.

  • A record crowd of 12,552 filled McKinney ISD Stadium in Texas to watch Mines and Harding face off.
  • For the 2023 season, Mines set program records for wins (14), first downs (387), yards in a season (7,630) and scoring defense in the modern era (13.0).
  • Quarterback John Matocha’s superlative career came to an end with his name at or near the top of multiple national records. After 57 consecutive starts (a program record) and 51 wins, Matocha ended as college football’s all-time leader in both passing (162) and total (191) touchdowns, throwing for 15,006 yards (third all-time in D-II history) and becoming only the second player in D-II history to cross 17,000 total yards with 17,006. All are Mines and RMAC records.
  • Running back Noah Roper ended his one season with Mines with 20 total touchdowns (16 rushing, 4 receiving), rushing for 960 yards and catching 178.
  • Two Orediggers, linebackers Adrian Moreno and Jaden Healy, had double-digit tackles, with Moreno achieving a career-high of 14 and Healy a career-best of 12. 
  • Safety Will Ramsey was named the NCAA’s Elite 90 winner for football, holding the top GPA among participants in the national championship game. Ramsey is a sophomore computer science major with a 4.0 GPA.
  • A record-setting six Orediggers were named Associated Press All Americans in the organization’s annual NCAA Division II year-end awards.
  • In his first year as coach, Pete Sterbick was named 2023 AFCA Regional Coach of the Year.

Read more about Mines football and the team’s stellar year at minesathletics.com.

The Mines football team holding a NCAA Division II Football Championship banner.
Mines students holding an Orediggers flag in the stands at a Mines football game
The Mines football team playing on the field against Harding University.
Mines students gathered at a Mines football game