Gorillas recover to throttle SBU, 59-7

Carla Wehmeyer/Pittsburg State University
By: Brian Pommier, Team Kong Contributor
Sep 21, 2013

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Just by looking at the box score, the Pittsburg State Gorillas’ 59-7 win over the Southwest Baptist Bearcats is going to look like just another lopsided win in a lopsided series.


The Gorillas -- who have never lost to SBU -- put up 462 yards on offense and held the Bearcats to just a mop-up touchdown in the fourth quarter. This has been the story for most of the 21 times these two teams have met.


But for most of the first half, this one had the 10,788 fans at Carnie Smith Stadium a touch fidgety.


The Gorillas led just 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, before wide receiver/kick returner John Brown blew the game open with two second-quarter TD grabs and a 95-yard kickoff return to start the second half.


“It felt good,” Brown said of his first real breakout night of 2013. “It felt real good. It was a team effort.”


With 8:58 left in the first half, Brown broke loose on a short out route and turned a short gain into a 57-yard touchdown that gave the Gorillas a 10-0 lead.


All of a sudden, the floodgates opened.


PSU quarterback Anthony Abenoja hit Conner Combes for a 37-yard touchdown for a 17-0 lead with 3:29 left in the half, then running back Jeff Seybold broke off a 29-yard run less than two minutes later.


Then, after the PSU defense forced an SBU punt with 1:15 remaining in the second quarter, Abenoja hit Brown for a 62-yard score on a third-and-10 with just 51 seconds left.


“That was very important,” PSU head coach Tim Beck said. “That’s why you play to the very end of the half … the very end of the game.”


But Brown wasn’t done, yet. He fielded the second-half kickoff at the PSU 5 and ran virtually untouched 95 yards for the score, giving the Gorillas a 38-0 lead.


For those of you doing the math, I’ll make it easy for you. In just 3:48, the Gorillas scored 28 points.


On the night, Abenoja completed 11 of 20 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns, while Brown pulled in five catches for an eye-popping 171 yards and two touchdowns. The Gorillas also ran for 152 yards, with Seybold leading the way with 104 yards and three touchdowns on 104 carries.


Meanwhile, the Pitt State defense made a mockery of the MIAA’s best passing attack. The Bearcats led the conference coming into the game, putting up an average of 350 yards a game through the air.


But on Saturday, SBU quarterback Willie Tindal completed 10 of 24 passes for 115 yards and one touchdown -- during fourth-quarter mopup time -- and also threw an interception. The Bearcats also rushed for a total of 87 yards.


“Our defense was lights out for the first three quarters,” Beck said. “They kept us in the game until our offense got untracked.”


The Gorillas will travel to Jefferson City, Mo., on Saturday for a 2 p.m. kickoff against the Lincoln Blue Tigers, who lost to Missouri Southern 59-10 to fall to 1-2 on the season.


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