PITTSBURG — The Pittsburg State football team capped off the regular season with a 56-7 win over Missouri Southern to finish 7-4 on the year.
Pitt State was clicking on all cylinders throughout the contest and built a large lead in the first half en route to extending the winning streak to five games.
“We wanted to make sure that we came out and played hard from the beginning,” PSU head coach Tim Beck said. “We wanted to make sure that we didn’t commit turnovers or give up any big plays. It can be easy sometimes to get sloppy towards the end of these kind of games, but we did a good job of not doing that.”
The Gorillas drove the ball down to the MSSU 37-yard line on the first drive of the contest with help from a 12-yard pass from Thomas LePage to Jovon Wilson and pinned the Lions back on their own one-yard line with a punt on fourth down.
Defense held strong for Pitt State, forcing Missouri Southern into a three-and-out.
PSU picked up on the MSSU 46-yard line after MSSU punted in its own end zone and capitalized on the quality field position, scoring on a seven-play drive to go up 7-0.
The scoring drive was highlighted by a 22-yard run by Tucker Horak and was capped off with a five-yard touchdown run by Michael Rose.
Pitt State went on to add one more touchdown in the early going of the second quarter to make the score 14-0 on the strength of a 43-yard touchdown pass from LePage to Lorenzo West.
Missouri Southern drove the ball down to the PSU 30 on a 56-yard pass, but the Gorillas’ defense kept the Lions off the scoreboard and forced a turnover on downs.
The Gorillas picked up deep in their own territory and drove 72 yards in five plays to increase the lead to 21-0 at the eight-minute mark of the second quarter.
Pitt State continued the momentum and forced a three-and-out on the next drive, giving the offense the ball on the MSSU 29.
The Gorillas’ offense capitalized on the field position, as LePage ran into the end zone from eight yards out to increase the lead to 28-0 with five minutes remaining in the first half.
PSU added one more touchdown on a two-yard touchdown pass from LePage to Panko at the end of the first half, pushing the score to 35-0.
Momentum continued to favor in the second half, as Juante Baldwin intercepted a pass on the first drive of the second half and took it 40 yards into the end zone for a pick-six which made the score 42-0.
Another three-and-out by the PSU defense led to another touchdown, as Rose took the Gorillas into the red zone on a 19-yard run before running into the end zone from four yards out to make the score 49-0 halfway through the third quarter.
The Lions avoided the shutout with a late touchdown, but the Gorillas got the points back in the final minutes of the contest on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Quez Allen to Bryce Barto.
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer