Four straight wins, including a victory over two-time defending national champion Northwest Missouri State, has made the Pittsburg State Gorillas one of the hottest team in the MIAA. From the smothering defense to the fast-paced offense, it seemed that Nov 4. was the day of the Gorilla as they downed Lopers 35-13.
UNK has done well showcasing a strong defense throughout this 2017 season, but only so much could work against an offense that consistently had three runners who could gain positive yardage on the field.
A junior industrial distribution major from Mullen, Tye Spies, had talked about the looks that the offense was giving the Loper defense, as it seemed that there were similarities between the two teams. “They ran a lot of triple option against us, which we like to do as well, but it’s hard to make a split-second decision to bring down one of three guys that could have the ball,” Spies said.
Gorillas quarterback led all Pitt State rushers with 103 yards and showed what a dual threat player is capable of by dissecting the Loper secondary for 105 yards passing with a touchdown. No particular player took over the game for Pitt State as 10 Gorillas accounted for one carry leading to a 295-yard total on the ground.
Pitt State made sure that the Loper defense couldn’t make proper adjustments throwing in multiple trick plays on the ground while also utilizing their triple option offense.
Between fake handoffs and laterals to swing wide receivers to the other side of the field, it seemed the Gorillas could do no wrong on offense.
The Loper offense had a hard time executing plays and getting positive yardage. About the Pitt State defense, head coach Josh Lynn said, “They came out with different schemes than what we had seen this season and it caught us off guard.”
Quarterbacks Steve Worthing, a sophomore industrial distribution major from Elkhorn, and Alex McGinnis, a sophomore business administration major from Crete, could only combine for 118 yards through the air. McGinnis led all Loper rushers with 25 yards on the ground while Darrien Daniels, a graduate student from St. Louis with an undecided major, followed McGinnis with 24 yards rushing.
Pitt State had Worthing’s number throughout the game as the Gorillas forced two interceptions and a fumble on the Lopers’ first drive starting the second half. Even being outmatched didn’t kill the spirit of the Lopers as the defense claimed an interception and fumble recovery for themselves.
For the offense, the Lopers stuck with their game plan the entire game and were able to score in the fourth quarter. McGinnis connected with junior agribusiness major Alex Harms, from North Platte, for a one yard passing touchdown.
The Lopers will look to wrap up their season on Nov 11. against the undefeated Fort Hays State Tigers in Fort Hays, Kansas. While the Lopers have had a long season, Spies knows the team can pull together and give Fort Hays a challenge.
“We’ve been a close group of guys all year and we have a lot of passion for this team. I know we can close out this season in a positive way,” Spies said. The Lopers will be looking to improve to 4-7 in their season finale against the Tigers.
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