RAPID CITY --- After an impressive 6-4 overall record in
2013, the South Dakota School of Mines football team begins its two-year stint
in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC). The Hardrockers will then
have a permanent home with the rest of SD Mines Athletics in the Rocky Mountain
Athletic Conference (RMAC) starting in 2016.
“It’s great that the Hardrockers were able to find a
conference and we are extremely excited to be a part of the RMAC,” said
Hardrocker football head coach Stacy Collins. “But before that happens we have
a commitment to the GNAC and right now our focus is on that great league and
more importantly the 2014 season.”
The Hardrockers start out the year against their two biggest
rivals --- which are both in the RMAC.
SD Mines kicks off the season in the friendly confines of
O’Harra Stadium taking on Colorado School of Mines (Golden, Colo.) on Sept. 6
followed by a trip up to Spearfish, S.D., for the 129th meeting
against Black Hills State on Sept. 13.
“We plan to set the tone early for the 2014 campaign and I
see no better way than playing your two biggest rivals,” Collins said. “Colorado
Mines and BHSU are always circled on the calendar and fans are sure to get
their money’s worth right out of the gate.”
The Hardrocker ‘M-Day’ homecoming game is slated for Sept.
20 against the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. The UW Falcons are an NCAA
Div. II program currently in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
who finished 2013 with a 0-10 overall record.
SD Mines finishes its non-conference schedule with a rematch
against William Jewell University (Liberty, Mo.). The Hardrockers have faced
the WJU Cardinals (member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference) the previous
two seasons and it is becoming quite the matchup between these two programs.
Each squad has a record-setting win under its belt. This year’s bout will be in
Missouri on Sept. 27.
GNAC play begins for South Dakota Mines on Oct. 4 with the
Hardrockers traveling Arcata, Calif., To face the Humboldt State Lumberjacks. Humboldt
was blanked last year, ending the year with a 0-10 overall mark.
SD Mines first GNAC home game is slated for Oct. 11 against Central
Washington University. The CWU Wildcats, from Ellensburg, Wash., finished last season
with a 7-3 record and third place in the GNAC standings.
The ‘Rockers are then off to Canada to face Simon Fraser University
in Burnaby, BC, on Oct. 18. The Simon Frasier Clan won just three games in
2013, but did close out the season with a victory.
SD Mines is back home on Oct. 25 welcoming the defending
GNAC champions, the Azusa Pacific Cougars from Azusa, Calif. The Cougars
finished 2013 with a 9-1 record and were also crowned the 2013 National
Christian College Athletic Association Victory Bowl Champions (defeated
The Hardrockers last road trip is Nov. 1 as SD Mines travel
west to St. George, Utah, to battle the Dixie State Red Storm, who posted a 4-6
record in 2013.
SD Mines finishes up the 2014 season with two home games.
The first is a non-conference matchup with the Southwest Baptist University Bearcats
(Bolivar, Mo.). Southwest Baptist competes in the Mid-America Intercollegiate
Athletics Association (MIAA) where the Bearcats finished with a 1-9 overall
record in 2013.
The final game of the 2014 season is Nov. 15 at O’Harra
Stadium against GNAC opponent Western Oregon. The Western Oregon Wolves are
from Monmouth, Ore. In 2013 the Wolves were the GNAC runners-up, earning a 7-3
“There’s a lot of diversity on this year’s schedule,”
Collins said. “Not only do we have the opportunity to compete for a conference
championship, we also get the chance to compete against programs in other Div.
II conferences from difference regions of the country. It’s going to be great
for our student-athletes as well as our Hardrocker fans.”