All of the momentum seemed to be on the side of the Pittsburg State football team.

All of the momentum seemed to be on the side of the Pittsburg State football team.

After scoring 24 unanswered points in the fourth quarter against Fort Hays State last week, the Gorillas were poised to capitalize against Nebraska-Omaha, a team that suffered a heartbreaking 34-31 loss last week.

However, a lack of pass defense, penalties, special teams breakdowns and an offense that found the road long all day, stopped that momentum and helped the Mavericks to a 48-27 win over the Gorillas Saturday at Carnie Smith Stadium.

With regards to pass defense, the Gorillas were scorched for 257 yards passing by UNO quarterback John Teigland on just 15 pass completions.

“When you play a team that can line up with one or two backs and not do anything fancy, they came out with boots and nakeds,” said PSU head coach Tim Beck. “We just didn’t have a good day stopping the pass.”

The offense, while being tasked to avoid the three-and-out series in the first half that had plagued them in previous losses, found an ability to drive the field, but yield little results.

“Our offense didn’t come out focused like we should have been,” said PSU senior wide receiver Jon Thomas.

Thomas led the receiving corps. with 64 yards on four receptions, but Pitt State (4-5, 2-5 MIAA) was unable to generate any points from their passing.

On special teams, the Gorillas had a significant breakdown after Briceton Wilson tied the game 13-13 with a 9-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. UNO returner Camren Torneden returned the ensuing kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown which started a flurry that saw the Mavericks (4-5, 4-3 MIAA) score 21 unanswered points between the second and third quarter and build up an insurmountable 34-13 lead.

Pitt State senior running back Terrance Isaac ended the point streak with a 42-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage after James Franklin III — the league’s second-leading rusher — scored for the Mavericks on an 11-yard run.

“It’s real tough,” Thomas said. “We (offense and defense) feed off each other and we were kind of defeated in the moment.”

The Gorillas also hurt themselves with penalties. After Isaac cut the UNO lead to 34-20, a strong kickoff return by UNO coupled with a 20-yard pass from Teigland to Marques Parker put the Mavericks down to the Gorilla 33.

An unsportsmanlike penalty against the Gorillas cut that distance by 15 yards to the 17. Three plays later Tiegland hit receiver Ryan Maloley on an 11-yard touchdown strike to push UNO’s lead to 41-20.

The offensive struggles hampered the Gorillas for the entire game as UNO stopped three Pitt State drives on downs in the game — including twice in Maverick territory.

Isaac finished the game with 117 yards on 15 carries and three touchdowns as the Pitt State running game managed 258 yards and accounted for all four Gorilla scores. Wilson added 82 yards on 12 carries and had a touchdown.

Nate Dreiling and Chas Smith each had 12 tackles to lead the Gorilla defense. Dreiling also had two tackles for loss.

But, it was the pass coverage for the Gorillas that seemed to hurt the most as UNO was able to complete short passes that turned into significant yardage.

“It all starts up front and putting pressure on and we didn’t do that,” Dreiling said. “We needed to make them one-dimensional and we didn’t do that either.”

Matthew Clark can be reached at matthew.clark@morningsun.net or at 620-231-2600, Ext. 140