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Morning Sun
  • MIAA teams lighting up the scoreboard

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  • After two games, nine of the 14 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association teams average over 30 points per game, with a 10th team — Lindenwood — averaging 29.5 per game. Washburn and Pittsburg State lead the MIAA in scoring, both teams averaging over 50 per game, Washburn 56 and Pitt State 55. The Gorillas have a one-touchdown edge on the Ichabods (15-14) while the Ichabods make up the difference in field goals (5-2 or 15 points to six). On Tuesday, we referenced several statistical categories Pitt State rates highly in — in addition to second in the MIAA in scoring offense, the Gorillas are first in total offense (590.5 yards per game), first in rushing offense (357.5 ypg), second in pass efficiency (202.5), first in first downs (31.5 per game) and second in third down conversions (16-28, 57.1 percent). Nationally, the Gorillas rank fourth in scoring offense, sixth in total offense, fourth in rushing offense, fourth in third down conversions, tied for sixth in first downs, seventh in pass efficiency and tied for first in turnovers lost — Pitt State joins six other teams (Brevard, Catawba, Clarion, Mercyhurst, Western New Mexico and Wingate) without a turnover this season. The 65 points the Gorillas put on the scoreboard last Saturday against Central Oklahoma are the highest total scored this season in the MIAA — two points ahead of the number Missouri Western dropped on Missouri S&T — and Washburn scored 50 points in back-to-back games, 58 on Nebraska-Kearney and 54 on Fort Hays State. Let's take a look at some of the individual highlights of the first two weeks: • Central Oklahoma senior running back Joshua Birmingham ranks ninth in the nation in rushing yards with 321 coming on 46 carries. Birmingham rushed for 152 yards and two scores against Pitt State but 89 of his yards came on TD runs of 73 and 16. Birmingham ranks even higher in all-purpose yards — fifth at 252 yards per game. His teammate, receiver Marquez Clark, ranks 10th in all-purpose yards. • Southwest Baptist comes to Pittsburg this weekend with the MIAA leader in passing yardage (10th nationally) in junior quarterback Willie Tindal, 701 yards after close losses to Truman State and Lindenwood. His main target, junior Derwyn Lauderdale ranks in a tie for 11th nationally with 9.5 receptions per game and third nationally with 338 receiving yards. Tindal, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native, transferred from Ellsworth CC. The potent Bearcat passing attack could meet its match this Saturday, playing the MIAA's second-rated pass defense in Pitt State. • Washburn quarterback Mitch Buhler leads the MIAA with eight TD passes, highlighted by his five TD performance Saturday against Fort Hays State. Buhler connected on a 15-yard pass to Matt Kobbeman, a 7-yarder to Tore' Hurst, 14-yarder to DaJuan Beard, 49-yarder to Jordan Hart and 11-yarder to Connor Crimmins — five different receivers caught TD passes. • In the win over Fort Hays, Washburn running back Vershon Moore saw his first action since 2010. He led the Ichabods with 106 yards on eight carries, highlighted by a 65-yard touchdown run with 6 minutes, 14 seconds remaining in the third quarter. • Missouri Southern quarterback Jay McDowell, a first-year starter, leads the MIAA in pass efficiency (264.2) and ranks eighth in rushing (91.5 ypg). Passing numbers: 13-for-16, 270 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions. Rushing: 183 yards and three TDs on 29 carries. • Lincoln running back Morris Henderson played a major role in Lincoln's 47-34 win over Grambling (FCS) in the Missouri Classic at Arrowhead Stadium. Henderson gained 325 all-purpose yards: 137 rushing, 74 receiving and 114 kick returns. He scored a pair of rushing TDs and a 100-yard kickoff return. Henderson ranks fifth in the nation in all-purpose yards at 255.5 per game, one spot ahead of Birmingham, and leads the nation in kickoff returns. • Emporia State receiver Austin Willis has been ridiculous in the Hornets' wins over Fort Hays State and Nebraska-Kearney. In 15 catches, Willis has gained 352 yards and scored five TDs. OK, that's 23.5 yards per catch and one TD per every three receptions. Willis and quarterback Brent Wilson have already formed the Killer Ws. • Pitt State quarterback Anthony Abenoja won the first MIAA Offensive Player of the Week honor awarded this season for his performance against Northeastern State. Abenoja passed for 228 yards and three scores, and rushed for a career-high 86 yards and one TD against Northeastern State. The Gorillas have arguably been the most balanced offense in the MIAA.
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