No. 10 PSU holds on to beat Abilene Christian, 28-20

Carla Wehmeyer/Pittsburg State University
By: Brian Pommier, Team Kong Contributor
Oct 5, 2013

Share This Story:

There aren’t a lot of NCAA Division II programs that would schedule a Football Championship Series opponent for their homecoming opponent.


But that’s exactly what Pittsburg State did.


Not only did they play up a division, but the No. 10 Gorillas (5-0 overall, 4-0 MIAA) beat Abilene Christian 28-20. The Gorillas are now 3-1 all-time against FCS opponents.


So what does it say about the Pitt State program that the Gorillas are willing to bring in an FCS school, and on homecoming, no less.


We're not very smart, to begin with,” Pitt State head coach Tim Beck joked. “It wasn't a very good idea. We wanted to step up a little in competition … It worked out for us to put a really quality opponent there. To be able to rise up and get the win on homecoming was a big deal for us.”


Pittsburg State running back Jeff Seybold ran for 115 yards on 24 carries and scored all three Gorilla touchdowns.


Beck said Seybold – who is in his first season as a starter – is getting more comfortable in his role.


We kinda jumped on his shoulders in the first half,” Beck said. “He made some nice runs, he had some nice runs after contact, he was physical. I think he's beginning to get more confidence as we go, too.”


But the defense is where most of the Gorillas laid the credit for the victory.


Consider this: Abilene Christian came into this game averaging 49.4 points a game, and PSU's defense allowed just 13 points and manhandled ACU's running game, holding the Wildcats to only 10 yards on 24 carries.


This isn't a typo. The Pitt State defense held an FCS program to an average of .4 yards per carry.


They have athletes all over the field,” said PSU linebacker Nate Dreiling. “It's simple, just run to the ball and gang tackle. It's hard to bring them down with one person only. We did a good job of making plays.”


Things didn't start out real well for the Gorillas, as Abilene Christian jumped on the board first courtesy of a pick-six by cornerback Tyler Chapa, who jumped a short out route thrown by PSU quarterback Anthony Abenoja.


That pick-six was all my fault,” Abenoja said. “That was all my fault.”


It was also a big deal, considering that it marked the first time the Gorillas have trailed in a game all season. That meant it was crucial for the offense to come out and get on the board to keep the momentum off of ACU's sideline.


And that's exactly what happened.


The Gorillas took over at their own 39 after a short kickoff, and the offense marched methodically downfield on 10 plays – the last of which was a three-yard TD run by Seybold.


The Gorillas added a 28-yard field goal by Conner Frazell to make it 10-7 with 9:46 left in the first half, and then the defense aided in a quick Pitt State scoring drive.


After a Griffin Knopp punt pinned ACU at their own 5 on the Gorillas' next possession, Abilene Christian quarterback John David Baker was sacked all the way back at his own 1. This set up a punt from the back of the end zone, which John Brown fielded and took all the way to the Wildcats' 34.


First play: Seybold for 27 yards and a first down.


Second play: Seybold for seven yards and a touchdown.


The Wildcats responded with a clinic of a four-minute drill, driving 74 yards on 11 plays and cutting the lead to 17-14 on a three-yard touchdown pass.


In the third quarter, the Gorillas tacked on a 29-yard field goal by Frazell and Seybold ran for his third touchdown of the day – this one from eight yards out – and PSU held a commanding 28-14 lead after Abenoja scored easily on a two-point conversion.


But, things got hairy in the fourth quarter, when ACU marched 80 yards to make it a 28-20 Pitt State lead with just more than four minutes left in the game. But after a mishandled snap on the PAT attempt, the two-point conversion attempt was stopped by PSU linebacker Nate Dreiling, and the Gorillas were able to hold on for the victory.


While this victory will no doubt feel good, the Gorillas don't have much time to celebrate. October is shaping up to be a brutal month for PSU, who will travel to Central Missouri next week before facing Northwest Missouri State at Arrowhead in two weeks. Then, as if that weren't bad enough, they will travel to St. Joseph, Mo., to take on Missouri Western after that.


Use your Facebook account to add a comment or start a discussion. Posts are subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment.