By Joe Naiman
It wasn’t the way Tyler Jackson wanted to be the leading rusher for Western New Mexico University, but Jackson led the Mustangs in rushing yards Sept. 24 during WNMU’s 27-21 overtime loss to the Colorado School of Mines.
Jackson had 13 yards on seven carries. The Orediggers held the Mustangs to a total of -2 rushing yards on 33 carries while limiting WNMU starting running back Abraham Macias to nine yards on four carries and holding starter Daveon Barner to seven yards on six attempts. Jackson’s seven attempts were the most for a WNMU running back (sacks, which quarterback David Ingram experienced six times from the Colorado Mines defense, count against rushing yardage in college football) during the Mustangs’ home game in Silver City.
“I didn’t really expect to play as much as I did, but whenever I was in I made the most of it,” Jackson said. “I was ready to go in.”
The 2011 Ramona High School graduate was on the field but did not carry the ball during the Mustangs’ first two games of the year Sept. 3 at home against Sul Ross State University and Sept. 10 at the University of San Diego. His first college carry was on the final possession of WNMU’s Sept. 17 game against Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo. After the Mustangs received the ball with 1:34 remaining, Jackson ran for 5 yards.
“It was exhilarating,” Jackson said of his first college carry. “I was kind of nervous to go in, but it was fun.”
Fort Lewis then called its final time out, and the Mustangs were able to run out the clock on the next two plays for a 26-17 victory.
WNMU Coach Adam Clark responded by providing Jackson with additional rushing attempts against Colorado Mines.
“I still could have done better, but I’m thankful for the opportunity that I got,” Jackson said.
Jackson’s longest run against the Orediggers was for 8 yards. He had 18 yards of rushing gains and five yards of rushing for a loss to average 1.9 yards per attempt.
Jackson was a Ramona High School senior during the 2010 football season when Colorado Mines shared the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championship with an 8-1 RMAC record, including a 43-0 win over Western New Mexico.
“Last year we got crushed, so I feel our team is a whole lot better this year since we almost beat them,” Jackson said.
Jackson and the Mustangs will travel to Grand Junction for Saturday’s game against Colorado Mesa University.