After Saturday’s 49-28 win over No. 17 Central Missouri, Pittsburg State has another daunting task to look forward to.



While the No. 7-ranked Gorillas remained undefeated and will undoubtedly savor their win over the Mules, work will immediately begin on Northwest Missouri next Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. for the Fall Classic at Arrowhead.

After Saturday’s 49-28 win over No. 17 Central Missouri, Pittsburg State has another daunting task to look forward to.

While the No. 7-ranked Gorillas remained undefeated and will undoubtedly savor their win over the Mules, work will immediately begin on Northwest Missouri next Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. for the Fall Classic at Arrowhead.

But, the Gorillas can go into next week with an air of confidence.

Not only did they beat a ranked team but, for the first time this season, they did so by a double-digit margin.

On offense, PSU was nine yards shy of breaking the single-game passing record with 392 yards in the air. Mark Smith and John McCoy combined for four touchdowns in the air and a 16-of-20 performance.

That included a 90-yard touchdown strike from Smith to Marques Nelson on their second play from scrimmage.

“It was huge to get up quick because it put them in a hole quick,” said McCoy, who was 3-of-3 and had a 63-yard touchdown pass to Nelson in the second quarter. “It is very tough to come out of that kind of a hole.”

The Gorillas appeared so focused that they did not pay attention to scoring updates coming from Omaha, Neb. in the game between Nebraska-Omaha and Northwest Missouri.

“I think I had heard that it was 21-0 at one point, but I really did not pay attention,” McCoy said.

Not even when the final score was read over the public address system that the Bearcats had blasted the Mavericks 42-0.

But after an offensive performance that netted the Gorillas 560 yards of total offense, there is really no reason why the Gorillas should not have a little more confidence heading into Arrowhead.

“We are clicking pretty well and working together as a team,” McCoy said. “If we can have a game like we did today, I think we can do well.”

And, as in several of their last meetings, the game does have league championship implications.
“It gives us a lot of confidence but they have a lot too,” Nelson said. “It is a big game for both of us.”

With players like McCoy having more of a role on the field, the stage as already been set and McCoy — who sat out last year — is already anxious.

“Arrowhead is an experience and my blood was flowing last year just charting plays,” McCoy said.

As for the PSU defense, Central’s passing attack did come up with 291 yards from quarterback Eric Czerniewski, Pitt State did come away with two sacks and dropped Central’s rushers for 25 yards in losses.

In addition, the defense did not have their backs against the wall and were not forced with hanging on to a small lead as in their first three games of the season.

“It was a lot better not going down to the last minute,” said junior outside linebacker Chris Swartz.

Holding the Mules to four punts, a turnover on downs and a missed field goal in their 11 possessions of the game also helps with the Gorillas’ confidence.

“It helps us out a ton,” Swartz said. “It was a hot day and we just got fresh legs in and out of the game.”

They will need that confidence next Saturday as, since 2000, the Gorillas have only beaten Northwest twice — in 2004 and 2005 — and would love to erase the 37-34 loss last year in overtime.

That, and the fact that the Bearcats just defeated the No. 5-ranked team in the country 42-0 on the road.

“Maybe we won’t watch that film,” joked PSU head coach Chuck Broyles. “We don’t want to scare our players.”

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