Gorillas trounce Blue Tigers

Despite committing four turnovers and surrendering more than 300 rushing yards, the 15th ranked Gorillas ultimately overpowered the winless Lincoln Blue Tigers 56-14 to improve to 5-0.

The
Gorillas got off to a fast start as Sophomore quarterback Brandon Mlekus finished
a 6-play 53-yard drive, that saw all three signal callers mixed in, with a six
yard touchdown run to give the Pitt the early 7-0 lead.

After
the defense forced a three-and-out, the Gorillas committed their first turnover
of the day when sophomore wide receiver Elijah Harris fumbled the punt, giving
Lincoln possession near midfield.

The Gorilla defense responded to the turnover, forcing Lincoln to settle for a 23-yard field goal attempt by freshman kicker Javier Moreno that sailed wide left. After the miss, what had been a light rain, became a downpour with multiple lightning strikes, which forced officials to impose a one-hour weather delay.

“It’s always important to stay focused
during those moments, I think everybody is always had at least one of those
where it’s a factor,” said senior defensive lineman Cole Morris. “It’s
important that you go into the locker room, stay focused on what you have to
do, come back out and get yourself prepared.”

After
another missed field goal by Moreno, and a couple of Gorilla punts, The MIAA’s
leading rusher sophomore Hosea Franklin busted loose for a 54-yard touchdown
run to tie the game 7-7 with 12:39 to play in the first half.

The
Gorilla offense came back to life, responding with 21 points in the second
quarter. Redshirt freshman Mak Sexton connected with senior Lorenzo West for a
22-yard scoring strike to give Pitt a 14-7 lead. A few possessions later,
Sexton hit sophomore wideout Bryce Murphy for a 36-yard touchdown to push the
lead to 21-7. After a fumble recovery, Sexton hit Harris for his third
touchdown of the day, a 19-yarder, to push the lead to 28-7 as time expired in
the first half.        

Sexton
finished 14 of 17 passing for 244 yards and three touchdowns. Mlekus, who had a
first half interception, connected with West for a 45-yard touchdown on the
Gorillas’ first drive of the second half effectively putting the game out of
reach 35-7.

Sophomore quarterback Brandon Mlekus is forced out of bounds near the goal line during the Gorilla’s first offensive drive against the Lincoln Blue Tigers. Mlekus later scored on a 6-yard touchdown run to give Pitt a 7-0 lead. Photo: Hannah Meier

From there, the Gorillas were able to run away with the game, holding Lincoln to only one more touchdown in a dominant 56-14 victory.

“We obviously came out a little flat,
there’s a lot of things we need to work on but I think the way we responded
spoke volumes about everybody all eleven of us across the board,” said junior
linebacker Kaden Roy.

Although
the Blue Tigers had success on the ground, they were held to just 55 yards
passing. Senior defensive end Cole Morris highlighted the defensive side of the
ball as he finished the game with two tackles for loss, two sacks, and a 79-yard
fumble return for a touchdown.

Pittsburg
State had a productive day passing the ball as their three quarterbacks Sexton,
Mlekus and Harman combined for 354 total yards and four touchdowns.

“We had a good game-plan for them all
week, we studied film and thought we could run some plays to beat their
coverage then we went out and executed,” said Sexton.

Sophomore
Bryce Murphy led the Gorillas in receiving with 7 catches for 114 yards and a
touchdown. West had 3 receptions for 72 yards and two touchdowns.

The
Gorillas now prepare for a matchup with undefeated #7 Northwest Missouri State at
Arrowhead Stadium  Oct. 12. Northwest and
Pittsburg State met in the ‘Fall Classic’ for 12 consecutive years from 2002-13
with Northwest holding a 9-3 advantage in those games.

“It’s a big deal for everybody and I
think it’s important for us obviously recruiting in the Kansas City area to showcase
both teams there,” said Head Coach Tim Beck. “Once the ball is kicked off, it’s
just a regular field to everybody and so we have to have a good week of
preparation.”

The
Gorillas look to avenge their 31-7 loss from last season. The Bearcats are 5-0
after a 34-23 victory at Emporia State.

Read more here: https://psucollegio.com/2019/10/09/gorillas-trounce-blue-tigers/
Copyright 2019