#11 Central Missouri holds off Pitt State

The Mules (8-0) beat the Gorillas 36-28 Saturday


Linebacker Deven Smith returned an interception 33 yards for a touchdown to give the University of Central Missouri the lead and the Mules went on to defeat Pittsburg State University, 36-28, Saturday (Oct. 26) at Audrey J. Walton Stadium.

The No. 11 ranked Mules remained unbeaten on the season, improving to 8-0 overall. Pitt State (5-3) suffered its third straight loss.

UCM jumped out to a 13-0 first quarter lead in the contest, but the Gorillas stormed back to take a 14-13 lead on a 25-yard touchdown run by Tyler Adkins and a 27-yard scoring scamper by Brandon Mlekus.

Pitt State maintained that slim margin until Smith’s interception return with 1:48 to play in the third quarter.

UCM extended its lead to 22-14 on a 43-yard field goal by Chris Diddle with 12:21 to play in the game.

The Gorillas countered with a 26-yard end around run by Bryce Murphy to trim the margin to 22-20 with 9:42 to go in the game, but Mlekus was stopped on the Gorillas’ 2-point conversion try.

UCM extended its margin to 29-20 on Devante Turner’s seven-yard touchdown run. Following a Mak Sexton interception the Mules stretched their lead to 36-20 on Brook Bolles’ six-yard touchdown run.

Sexton tossed a two-yard touchdown pass to Lorenzo West with 2:45 to play in the game and Mlekus added a 2-point conversion pass to Kaizer Newell, but UCM recovered the ensuing onside kickoff attempt. The Mules then ran off the remainder of the game clock to secure the win.

Sexton completed 10 of 25 passes for 91 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Mlekus rushed the ball 18 times for 96 yards and a TD and completed three of five passes for 44 yards. West finished the game with seven catches for a game-high 108 yards and a TD.

Kaden Roy, Morgan Selemaea and Alex Derryberry each were credited with eight tackles in the contest. Cole Morris made 1.5 quarterback sacks.

Pitt State will return to action next Saturday (Nov. 2) when they Gorillas play host to MIAA rival Missouri Western State University at 1 p.m.


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