WARRENSBURG, Mo. — Things didn’t go as planned for the Pittsburg State football team, which lost 28-23 in the season opener against Central Missouri on Thursday.
The Gorillas held the lead for a majority of the first half and went into the break at halftime with a 16-9 advantage, but couldn’t hold of the Mules in the second half to claim the victory.
UCM received the opening kickoff and drove the ball 83 yards on 11 plays in under five minutes for a touchdown, capping off the first possession of the season with a 49-yard pass to go up 6-0.
A missed extra-point attempt allowed the Gorillas to take the lead at 7-6 in their first offensive drive of the season, following a two-yard touchdown run by Kiah Kintchen.
The Gorillas’ eight-play 80-yard drive was highlighted by a 39-yard connection from John Roderique to Austin Panko.
Pittsburg’s Juante Baldwin intercepted a pass after the football was tipped at the line of scrimmage in the following possession.
The turnover resulted in a 36-yard field goal converted by Jared Vincent to extend the to 10-6.
Central Missouri came to within one point of the lead with a field goal in the second quarter, but a 38-yard run by Tucker Horak set up a five-yard touchdown run by Devonte Brown to extend Pitt State’s lead to 16-9 with three minutes remaining the in the first half.
The Mules responded in the third quarter, scoring on a 33-yard touchdown pass and converting the extra point to tie the game at 16-all.
Pitt State fumbled the ball at the eight-minute mark of the third quarter, which resulted in three points for the Mules on a 28-yard field goal to give them the lead at 19-16.
UCM increased the lead to 22-16 following another field goal in the early going of the fourth on a 28-yard attempt.
With four minutes remaining in the contest, the Mules put the nail in the coffin with a 50-yard touchdown run to cushion the lead to 28-16.
PSU came through for one more touchdown in the final minutes of the game on a 29-yard pass from Thomas LePage to Brenner Clemons, but it was too late, as the Mules drained the clock in the final possession to seal the win.
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.