Gorillas face first real test in FCS-member Wildcats

By: Brian Pommier, Team Kong Contributor
Oct 4, 2013

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For as many times as Abilene Christian and Pittsburg State have been ranked in the same NCAA Division II poll, and for as much success as both programs have had, it seems odd that the two teams have never met in football.


That will change on Saturday as the No. 10-ranked Gorillas welcome FCS-member ACU to Carnie Smith Stadium as they celebrate Homecoming 2013.


After three lopsided wins to open the season, Abilene Christian has dropped a pair of games to Illinois State and Tarleton State in consecutive weeks.



The Gorillas have had pretty good luck against FCS teams (what used to be called Division I-AA). Pitt State beat Arkansas State in 1989 and Missouri State in 1997, while the Gorillas lost by 10 at Eastern Illinois in 1996. This will be the first time PSU has hosted an FCS team.


Abilene Christian features an offense that is averaging 467.2 yards a game -- with 283 of those yards coming through the air and 184.2 coming through the running game -- and are putting up an average of almost 50 points, as well.


The Wildcats are led by a senior quarterback that simply doesn’t turn the ball over. John David Baker is 103-of-158 for 1,338 yards and 17 touchdowns to a single interception. Baker’s favorite receiver this year has been Darian Hogg, who has caught 26 passes for 464 yards and five touchdowns.


But while Abilene Christian likes to throw the ball, Charcandrick West has proven to be a capable running back, racking up 402 yards on 74 carries and eight scores.


The Wildcats will most definitely be the biggest test so far for the Gorillas, but Pitt State’s defense has been stingy for most of the season. In fact, the Gorillas’ defense had shutouts blown late in the fourth quarters of both home games against Northeastern State and Southwest Baptist.


On the flip side, the Gorillas’ offense is putting up even more impressive offensive numbers than their FCS foe. Pitt State is racking up 607.5 yards of total offense a game, with a very balanced 304.5 coming via the passing game and 303 coming through the air.




Last week was a good one for the Gorillas, who watched several individual players set team records -- while another continues to inch toward setting a career mark.


Anthony Abenoja set a school record with 442 passing yards and a school record five touchdown passes, while John Brown set school marks by scoring five times -- including another school record with four TD receptions. Brown also passed Ronnie West with 2,722 career receiving yards.


Meanwhile, senior linebacker Nate Dreiling is now 52 tackles away from Chris Brown’s record of 470 stops. Dreiling also lacks 71 tackles from the MIAA record.


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