PITTSBURG — Pittsburg State University captured sole possession of first place in the MIAA conference after defeating Nebraska-Kearney 30-17 on Friday.
It was Family Night at Brandenburg Field/Carnie Smith Stadium, and the Gorillas pounced on the Lopers early.
“I thought we executed well.” said Pittsburg wideout Lorenzo West. “We made some mistakes early with penalties, but the defense had our back. It was a good team win.”
“This is what it’s all about.” said defensive lineman Simanu'a Thomas. “A lot of my family came out tonight, and I’m glad they were able to see us get a win.”
Quarterback John Roderique gave Pitt State an early 16-0 lead on two rushing touchdowns in the first quarter.
Cole Morris was responsible for the extra two points, sacking Nebraska-Kearney quarterback Alex McGinnis inside the UNK redzone for a safety.
It was a tough opening quarter for McGinnis and the Lancer offense, with Pittsburg’s Carnell Lewis grabbing a interception that he returned to the UNK 12-yard line.
Nebraska-Kearney cut the lead to six in the second quarter.
McGinnis found Trey Lansman for a 25-yard touchdown pass and Brian Covarrubias knocked in a 43-yard field goal to cut the lead to 16-10.
It was the closest the Lopers would come to overtaking the Gorilas.
Tyler Adkins responded with a 23-yard touchdown run to extend the lead with one minute to go in the half.
Redshirt freshman B.J. Bradburry found KiAnte Hardin early in the fourth quarter for the last Gorilla score, a 10-yard touchdown connection.
“It’s a great feeling to go out and perform the way we did.” said Hardin.
Hardin, a Webb City native who redshirted in 2017 after transferring from University of Minnesota, cherishes the opportunity to be closer to his hometown.
“Coming from the University of Minnesota, it's great to be closer to home and have the opportunity for my family to come and see me play.” said Hardin.
The win, coupled with Northwest Missouri’s upset loss to Central Oklahoma, leaves Pitt State as the last unbeaten team in the MIAA.
Next week, the Gorillas travel to St. Charles, Missouri for the Hall-Of-Fame game against Lindenwood.