Gorillas grab 3-seed in Super Region 3

The Gorillas celebrate their MIAA championship after a 41-14 win at UCO. (Carla Wehmeyer, PSU)
By: Brian Pommier for TeamKong.com
Nov 16, 2014

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Carnie Smith Stadium stood empty and filled with snow Sunday afternoon. But for the first time in two years, the Jungle will be hosting postseason football as the Pittsburg State Gorillas will host Harding University at noon Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.

The Gorillas -- fresh off of a 41-14 win over the Central Oklahoma Bronchos to cap the regular season and earn a share of the MIAA title -- learned their playoff fate on Sunday at a watch party inside John Lance Arena.
PSU is the third seed in Super Region 3.
 
“We’re happy to be in,” PSU head coach Tim Beck said. “It doesn’t matter where. Obviously we’re happy to be at home, but our guys would be OK traveling, too.”
 
Heading into the last week of the season, it appeared that the Gorillas may host Northwest Missouri State in the first round, setting up a rematch of PSU’s 35-14 win over the Bearcats earlier in the season. Northwest, however, will travel north to face Minnesota-Duluth in their playoff opener.
 
Unlike 2011, when the Gorillas won three straight home playoff games en route to a national title, Pitt State will travel to Minnesota State-Mankato for a second-round matchup, should the Gorillas beat Harding.
 
“I don’t think (travel) is going to be a big deal,” Beck said. “I think the fact that we’re in and we have the opportunity to play in some different places is exciting for our players.”
 
First up, though, are the Bisons. Harding finished the regular season 9-1 and is making its second appearance in the playoffs. The Bisons also are riding a nine-game road winning streak coming into their matchup with the Gorillas.
 
Harding beat Arkansas Tech 41-7 on Saturday to secure their playoff berth, while the Gorillas were in the midst of their win over the Bronchos.
 
The Bisons feature a triple-option offensive attack, and most of their damage is done on the ground, rushing for more than 3,500 yards. Harding has attempted just 64 passes on the season.
 
“I really don’t know much about them other than they run the triple-option and they rush for a bunch,” Beck said. “The throw it six times a game and rush for 390.”
 
Beck said facing Missouri Southern’s triple-option just two weeks ago could be an advantage heading into this game.
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“We haven’t seen (Harding) on video yet,” Beck said. “All we know is they run the triple-option, so we don’t know if they’ll be very similar to Missouri Southern or not. But, us playing (MSSU) a couple of weeks ago is a lot more advantageous than playing them in Week 1 or Week 2. It’s still fairly fresh in our minds.”
 
 

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