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    BHSU FB: Yellow Jackets fall to #21 CMU, Hommel throws for career-high 470 yards

    GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The Black Hills State University football team fell to No. 21 ranked Colorado Mesa, 49-37, on Saturday afternoon.

    The Yellow Jackets (3-3, 3-3 RMAC) outscored the Mavericks, 20-0, in the fourth quarter, but were unable to knock off the nationally ranked team. BHSU quarterback Ryan Hommel threw for a career-high 470 yards.

    Colorado Mesa (5-1, 5-1 RMAC) opened the game with a four play, 69-yard drive, to take a 7-0 lead with 13:44 remaining in the first quarter. After forcing a three-and-out on BHSU's first drive of the game, the Mavericks scored on their next possession, to lead, 14-0, with 10:49 remaining in the first.

    BHSU responded by driving down the field into field goal range, however, Jacob Parks missed a 33-yard field goal, and CMU got the ball back. The Mavericks scored a touchdown with about a minute left in the quarter, and led 21-0 at the end of the period.

    On CMU's first drive of the second quarter, Sam Garcia intercepted an Eystin Salum pass to give the Yellow Jackets the ball at midfield. The Green and Gold took advantage of the turnover, scoring on an 11-yard Ryan Hommel pass to Shandon Jones. With 9:43 remaining in the half, BHSU drew within 21-7.

    The Yellow Jacket defense forced a three-and-out, and, with a short field, BHSU tallied an eight-play scoring drive, culminating with Hommel running it in from two yards out. With five minutes remaining in the half, the visitors trailed Colorado Mesa, 21-14. However, the Mavericks responded with two scoring drives of their own, and led the Yellow Jackets, 35-14, at the half.

    BHSU opened the second half with the ball, and Jacob Parks' 43-yard field goal try was good, but CMU scored twice in the quarter. The Mavericks led the Yellow Jackets, 49-17, at the end of the third quarter.

    Following a common script from this year, the fourth quarter was all Yellow Jackets. With 8:47 remaining, a two-yard Phydell Paris rushing touchdown capped off an 83-yard drive for BHSU. After converting a two-point conversion, and trailing 49-25, the Green and Gold attempted an onside kick. Jacob Parks' kickoff was recovered by Christian Hernandezaround midfield. Taking advantage of the short field, Hommel hooked up with Dylan Reiners for a 46-yard touchdown, to trail CMU, 49-31.

    The ensuing onside kick was recovered by Colorado Mesa, but the defense held, forcing a 39-yard field goal try, which was missed. The following drive for the Yellow Jackets was an 11-play, 79-yard possession, in which Paris ran it in from one-yard out. The extra-point was blocked, and BHSU trailed, 49-37, with 2:26 remaining in the game. The Green and Gold defense forced a turnover on downs on the next Maverick possession, but the team was unable to get down the field again, ultimately falling, 49-37.

    "We always say that we're never going to quit, and we didn't," said head coach John Reiners. "We never gave in. We have proved every week that we can be a very explosive team, but we need to find a way to get it going early in the game."

    Hommel finished with a career-high 460 yards, and two passing touchdowns, as well scoring a rushing touchdown. He completed 40 passes, including 10 to Erick Hairston-Belcher, who finished with 138 receiving yards. Dylan Reiners had his first career touchdown, and finished with 66 yards receiving. Shandon Jones also had a receiving touchdown and tallied 51 yards. On the ground, Paris finished with two touchdowns and 71 yards rushing.

    Defensively, JJ Kilgore and Luis Bach each had six tackles. Bach and Thayer Sauter each had a solo sack, while Jarrell Ganaway and Jared Tiefenthaler teamed up for a sack. Sam Garcia recorded an interception, his third of the season.   

    Eystin Salum threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns for the Mavericks. He also ran for 84 yards and three touchdowns. Virnel Moon had 113 yards receiving and a touchdown.

    The Green and Gold will next host Western State on Saturday, October 14. The game, which will be First Responders Day, is scheduled to kick off at 12 p.m.

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