A prolific season for Colorado School of Mines quarterback John Matocha just turned epic.
The senior signal caller threw four touchdown passes and ran for two more in Saturday’s super regional final in San Angelo, Texas, pushing the Orediggers past second-ranked Angelo State for a 42-24 victory that clinched a spot in the NCAA Division II semifinals.
The Orediggers (12-2) took advantage of three fumbles from the Rams (12-1) to lock up their second consecutive Final Four bid and avenge a Week 2 overtime loss to Angelo State.
See ya in the semis. #HelluvaEngineer⚒️ pic.twitter.com/RJPCE3GKJp
— Mines Football (@MinesFootball) December 3, 2022
With none of the No. 1 seeds advancing to the semis, Mines will get to return to Marv Kay Stadium to face Shepherd (13-1) of Shepherdstown, West Virginia, next Saturday for the right to play in the Division II championship.
Matocha, who has 4,200 yards and 45 TDs passing in 14 games this season, was at the center of it all Saturday. The Magnolia, Texas native topped 100 yards rushing for the second straight game, carrying the ball 16 times for 102 yards and two scores. He also completed 15 of 27 passes for 162 yards, four TDs and no interceptions against a stout Angelo State defense.
Tristan Smith hauled in three of Matocha’s four TD passes, making him the third different Oredigger receiver to catch three TD passes in a game this postseason. Running back Michael Zeman caught the other on a 9-yard pass in the first quarter.
“Three different guys with three touchdowns in the playoffs, that’s a crazy stat,” Matocha said in a news release. “We have so many weapons. Any one of those guys at any moment, they’re all clutch in important situations. Today was Tristan Smith’s day.”
The second of Smith’s two first-half touchdown receptions, coming from 28 yards out, gave the Orediggers a 21-7 lead with 4:33 left in the second quarter. Angelo State twice pulled within four points in the second half, but Matocha answered both times — first with a 53-yard scoring run on third-and-19, then with a 6-yard pass to Smith that put Mines ahead 35-24 with 1:49 left in the third quarter. Matocha added a 10-yard TD run with 2:34 left to put the game away.
Angelo State QB Zach Bronkhorst threw for 323 yards and three touchdowns, but Mines limited the Rams rushing attack to just 73 yards.