After last week’s 38-21 win at Fort Hays State, the Pittsburg State football team may be starting to feel like things are coming together.

After last week’s 38-21 win at Fort Hays State, the Pittsburg State football team may be starting to feel like things are coming together.

The win — fostered by a 24-point fourth quarter — snapped a two-game losing streak for the Gorillas (4-4, 2-4 MIAA) and may have put things back on track for a team still be searching for a postseason bowl bid.

“It felt nice to finally click together as a team,” said PSU senior offensive lineman Mark Chestnut. “It was nice to get our stuff going.”

But, things don’t get any easier today as the Gorillas start a two-game homestand with Nebraska-Omaha (3-5, 3-3 MIAA). The Mavericks are coming off a heartbreaking 34-31 loss to No. 9 Central Missouri in a game where UNO held a 31-7 lead in the third quarter.

That can mean one of two things happens at 2 p.m. today: The Gorillas will catch UNO down after the tough loss, or the Mavericks will be angry and hungry for a win at Carnie Smith Stadium, where UNO is 0-3.

PSU head coach Tim Beck thinks he knows which Maverick team Pitt State will see.

“They are going to come out mad after last week,” Beck said.

For Pitt State to counteract that, a few things must happen.

“We have to be more forceful on our approach and start early,” Beck said.

Starting early has not been the bread and butter of the Gorillas’ gameplan for the last few weeks. Last week, against Fort Hays, the Gorillas found themselves down 21-14 going into the fourth quarter. A week previous, Pitt State was down 28-7 to Washburn at halftime before rallying late, only to lose 35-34 in double-overtime.

So, how does playing well in the fourth quarter of one game translate to putting four quarters of play together for the next game?

“That is the question,” Beck said. “We’ve talked about getting good starts and we had games where we did and fizzled out down the stretch.”

The player the Gorillas will have to watch for is freshman running back James Franklin III. At present, Franklin ranks second in the MIAA in rushing, averaging just over 89 yards per game. The Mavericks also bring sophomore running back Levi Terrell in the mix. Terrell ranks sixth in the MIAA in rushing with a 75.3 yard average per game.

It means the Gorillas will have to spend their focus on something they have not really had to do this season: defending the run.

“That is a huge thing,” said redshirt freshman linebacker Nate Dreiling. “If you keep them one-dimensional, it allows you to try different things.”

Dreiling currently leads the nation in tackles this season with 94.

NOTES: One thing Beck said would help the Gorilla offense will be to cut out three-and-out drives in the first half. “The three-and-outs in the first half will kill you. It is very important to have sustained drives so that we can learn about their defense,” he said.