#18 Pitt State preps for Nebraska-Kearney

The Gorillas are 3-0 to start the season

After two straight home games, the Pittsburg State Gorillas will be back on the road this weekend, facing the Nebraska-Kearney Lopers.

Pitt State is 3-0 heading into the weekend, and has climbed the national rankings up to #8 in this week’s AFCA Division II poll.

Nebraska-Kearney currently lead the MIAA in rushing, posting 300 yards per game on the ground. Pitt State is #3 in the league in rushing, with 215 yards per contest.

“They’re getting ready for us running the ball downhill, and we’re getting ready for them,” says Pitt State linebacker Kaden Roy, “It will be exciting. It’s going to be an old-school football game, which is something a linebacker loves…just coming downhill and hitting somebody. I’m very excited about that.”

RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

The Pittsburg State University football team will travel to Kearney, Neb., Saturday (Sept. 28) to face MIAA rival University of Nebraska-Kearney. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (CDT) at Ron & Carol Cope Stadium at Foster Field.

Pittsburg State, the winningest all-time NCAA Division II program, is competing in its 112th season of intercollegiate football at the institution. The Gorillas have accumulated 716 victories, posting a 716-349-48 overall mark.

Pitt State opened the 2019 campaign with a 37-35 road win over the University of Central Oklahoma on Sept. 5 at Edmond, Okla. The Gorillas then notched back-to-back home wins over Emporia State University (47-23) on Sept. 14 and Northeastern State University (58-3) last Saturday (Sept. 21).

Pitt State climbed four spots to No. 18 in this week’s AFCA/NCAA Division II Top 25 poll following the Gorillas lopsided win over the RiverHawks.

Nebraska-Kearney is off to a 2-1 start to the season. The Lopers have a pair of road wins to their credit, downing Missouri Southern State University, 37-29, on Sept. 5 and ESU, 31-21, last Saturday (Sept. 21). The Lopers dropped a 28-23 home decision to UCO in week two.

The Coaches
Tim Beck
is in his 10th season as head coach at Pitt State. He has compiled a 79-30 (.725) career record.

Beck led his alma mater (PSU, ’88) to the 2011 NCAA Division II National Championship, earning national coach of the year honors from Liberty Mutual, the Don Hansen Football Committee and FieldTurf™.

Beck became the school’s 14th all-time head football coach in December 2009, after serving for 23 seasons as an assistant coach for the Gorillas including 16 years as the team’s offensive coordinator from 1994-2009.

In his first season leading the Gorillas, Beck guided Pitt State to a 6-6 record and a victory in the 2010 Mineral Water Bowl. In 2011, Beck led the Gorillas to the program’s second NCAA national championship and the school’s fourth national title overall in a 13-1 campaign. Pitt State captured the MIAA Championship and ultimately the NCAA-II National Championship with a 35-21 victory over Wayne (Mich.) State on Dec. 17, 2011.

In 2012, the Gorillas opened the season 5-0 before finishing the year 7-3 overall, while in 2013 Pitt State posted the program’s 20th all-time 10-win season during a 10-2 campaign.

In 2014, the Gorillas shared the MIAA regular season title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA-II playoffs during an 11-2 campaign.

In 2015, a young Pitt State team battled a rash of key injuries to frontline players and the Gorillas had to settle for an uncharacteristic 6-5 season. In 2016, the Gorillas battled key injuries once again and Pitt State posted a 7-4 season.

In 2017, Pitt State posted six straight wins to end the season with an 8-4 record including a victory in the 2017 Agent Barry Live United Bowl. Last year, the Gorillas posted an 8-3 record and narrowly missed qualifying for the NCAA-II playoffs.

During his 16 seasons as offensive coordinator, the Gorilla offense consistently ranked among the finest units in NCAA Division II.

In 2008, Beck was selected the inaugural NCAA Division II Coordinator of the Year by FootballScoop.com , following a vote of his coaching peers.

In 2004, Beck’s offensive unit established itself as the most prolific squad in the history of NCAA football. PSU shattered a 118-year-old scoring record, scoring an amazing 837 points (55.8 ppg). His squad also set the NCAA all division records for rushing (5,320 yards) and total offense (8,976 yards).

Beck’s teams led Division II in scoring in two of the last six years (2004, 2006) and ranked in the top two nationally in total offense three times in the last six seasons (2004, 2005, 2006). His squads ranked among the national rushing leaders every season, leading Division II in 1995 (318.8 ypg) and 2004 (354.7 ypg). Beck’s “multiple choice” option attack also compiled 16,483 passing yards (216.9 ypg) and 143 aerial touchdowns during the last six years.

Pitt State averaged a staggering 38.8 points and 442.5 yards of total offense per game during his tenure as offensive coordinator.

Prior to assuming the offensive coordinator’s role, Beck served two years as Pitt State’s defensive coordinator (1992-93). He became a full-time assistant on the Pitt State staff in 1989, after serving first as a student assistant (1987) and then as a graduate assistant (1988).

This will be Beck’s sixth meeting vs. the Lopers. He is 5-0 vs. UNK.

Josh Lynn is in his third season as head coach at UNK and his seventh year as a collegiate head coach. Lynn has a 10-15 (.400) record in his short tenure leading the Lopers and a 37-40 (.481) overall mark.

Lynn (E. New Mexico, 2000) posted a 27-25 record in five seasons leading his alma mater, Eastern New Mexico (2012-16). This will be his third meeting vs. Pitt State. He is 0-2 against the Gorillas.

The Pitt State-UNK Series
This will be the 22nd meeting between the Gorillas and the Lopers in a series that dates back to the 1974 season, but it will be just the seventh meeting between the two squads since 1988.

Pitt State holds a 14-7 edge in the series.

The Gorillas and Lopers met for 15 consecutive years, between 1974-88, when they were conference foes in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (1974-75) and Central States Intercollegiate Conference (1976-88).

Last year, Pitt State jumped out to a 16-0 first quarter lead and rode the early momentum to a 30-17 victory over Nebraska-Kearney on Sept. 22.

John Roderique scored on a pair of short touchdown runs in the first quarter. His two-yard run with 8:52 to play in the initial period staked the Gorillas to a 7-0 lead. He added a one-yard run with 2:08 remaining in the period to extend the lead to 16-0.

The Gorillas sandwiched in a team safety between the two scoring jaunts by Roderique when Cole Morris sacked UNK quarterback Alex McGinnis, forcing a fumble out the back of the end zone with 7:25 to play in the first period.

Carnell Lewis added an interception he returned to the UNK 11 to set up Roderique’s second touchdown run.

The Lopers trimmed the margin to 16-10 in the second quarter on McGinnis’ 29-yard TD pass to Trey Lansman and Brian Covarrubias’ 43-yard field goal, but the Gorillas countered with Tyler Adkins’ 23-yard run for a 23-10 advantage with 1:06 remaining in the first half.

B.J. Bradbury added a 10-yard touchdown pass to KiAnte Hardin for the Gorillas final score with 14:18 remaining in the game.

The Pitt State defense forced three turnovers, registered five quarterback sacks and nine stops behind the line of scrimmage overall. The Gorillas limited the Lopers to 132 rushing yards and 267 total yards in the contest. UNK entered the game averaging 315 rushing yards per game.

Gorillas on the Road
Pitt State has posted an 89-28-0 (.761) record in its last 117 road games (including post-season play). The Gorillas are 36-7 (.837) in their last 43 road games dating back to Oct. 23, 2010.

Pitt State posted a school and MIAA record 20 straight road wins between the 2010 and 2014 seasons before dropping a 24-21 overtime decision to Minnesota State in the second round of the NCAA-II playoffs on Nov. 29, 2014 .

During the last 26 years (1994-pres.), the Gorillas are an equally impressive 100-30-1 (.767) on the road.

PSU’s Regular Season Success
Pitt State has won 306 of its last 369 regular season games, posting a phenomenal 306-63-2 (.832) mark during the past 35 seasons (1985-2019). PSU is 163-26-1 at home, 139-28-1 on the road and 4-9-0 at neutral sites in the regular season during that span.

Pitt State in the AFCA Top 25 Poll
Pitt State has been ranked in Division II’s top 10 118 times in the last 255 polls and the Gorillas have been ranked in the top 25 poll in 191 of 255 weeks overall (dating back to the 1999 season).

All-Time Winningest Programs
Pittsburg State is the all-time winningest NCAA Division II football program. The Gorillas, who are in their 112th season of intercollegiate competition, have compiled a 716-349-48 overall record, winning 66.5 percent of their 1,113 all-time games.

Pittsburg State is one of just seven NCAA Division II institutions to have recorded 600 all-time victories and the Gorillas became just the 33rd program – the first Division II institution – across all levels of college football to reach the 700-win plateau. Currently, the Gorillas are ranked 31st among all college football programs in all-time victories.

Tuskegee is second on the Division II all-time list with 692 victories, followed by Hillsdale (640), Carson-Newman (634) and Central Oklahoma (635).

UNK has a 537-347-27 (.604) record in 98 seasons of intercollegiate play.

Quick Strike Offense
The Pitt State offense has exhibited a penchant for being a “quick strike” unit. During the last 15 seasons (2005-19), the Pitt State offense has generated 916 scoring drives (752 TDs, 164 FGs) and averaged just 2:54 of elapsed time per drive.

2005 97 scoring drives (86 TDs, 11 FGs) 2:40 elapsed time 2013 83 scoring drives (70 TDs, 13 FGs) 2:29 elapsed time
2006 79 scoring drives (72 TDs, 7 FGs) 2:14 elapsed time 2014 74 scoring drives (53 TDs, 21 FGs) 3:06 elapsed time
2007 64 scoring drives (55 TDs, 9 FGs) 3:02 elapsed time 2015 50 scoring drives (41 TDs, 9 FGs) 2:53 elapsed time
2008 69 scoring drives (61 TDs, 8 FGs) 3:23 elapsed time 2016 60 scoring drives (48 TDs, 12 FGs) 2:54 elapsed time
2009 49 scoring drives (44 TDs, 5 FGs) 3:21 elapsed time 2017 56 scoring drives (42 TDs, 14 FGs) 3:18 elapsed time
2010 41 scoring drives (34 TDs, 7 FGs) 3:04 elapsed time 2018 48 scoring drives (37 TDs, 11 FGs) 3:14 elapsed time
2011 78 scoring drives (60 TDs, 18 FGs) 2:54 elapsed time 2019 23 scoring drives (13 TDs, 10 FGs) 2:52 elapsed time
2012 51 scoring drives (40 TDs, 11 FGs) 2:58 elapsed time

The Gorillas have been highly successful when they are quick out of the gates. Pitt State has scored on its opening drive 75 times (63 TDs, 12 FGs) in the last 159 games, posting a 67-8 (.893) record in those games. By contrast, Pitt State is 48-36 (.571) in games it doesn’t score on its opening drive during the same span.

Inside The Pitt State Offense / Defense
Senior wide receiver Lorenzo West caught two passes for 40 yards and a TD last week vs. NSU. For the season, West has a team-leading 10 catches for 200 yards (20.0 ypc). The Lawton, Okla., native has made 106 career receptions for 1,608 career yards (15.2 ypc) and 10 touchdowns. He ranks eighth in PSU history in career receiving yards and sixth in career receptions. West, who currently ranks third in NCAA Division II in kickoff returns (41.8 ypr), also has compiled 3,374 career all-purpose yards.

Junior running back Tucker Horak has carried the ball 21 times for 88 yards (4.2 ypc) and a team-leading five touchdowns to date. The Rossville, Kan., native ranks second in the MIAA in scoring (10.0 ppg). For his career, Horak has carried the ball 185 times for 963 yards (5.2 ypc) and 11 TDs.

Senior place kicker Jared Vincent converted three field goals against NSU last week and scored 16 points in the victory over the RiverHawks. The Claremore, Okla., native is a perfect 10-for-10 on field goal attempts this season. He currently leads NCAA Division II in field goals (3.3 pg) and ranks second nationally in scoring (15.3 ppg). Vincent has converted 36 of 43 (.837) career field goal attempts and 111 of 115 (.965) career PAT tries. A two-time All-MIAA performer, Vincent has scored 209 career points (8.0 ppg).

Senior defensive tackle Simanu’a Thomas made 2.5 quarterback sacks in the home opener vs. ESU. The Independence, Mo., native is a two-time NCAA Division II All-America and three-time All-MIAA performer. For his career, Thomas has registered 122 career tackles with 34.5 tackles-for-loss and 15.0 quarterback sacks.

Sophomore cornerback Jermaine Brealy Jr. made two tackles and a team-leading three pass break-ups vs. NSU last week. The Mansfield, Texas native now has seven tackles and a team-high five PBUs on the young season. He is currently tied for fifth place in the MIAA in passes defended.

Scouting Lopers
Senior Alex McGinnis and redshirt freshman T.J. Davis have shared duties at quarterback directing the UNK offense.

McGinnis (6-3, 230) has completed 27 of 45 passes (.600) for 482 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions and rushed the ball 28 times for 76 yards and two scores. Davis has 33 carries for 201 yards (6.1 ypc) and three TDs. He’s completed just one of seven passes (.143) for three yards on the season.

Senior running back David Goodwin (5-10, 200) has been the Lopers leading ground gainer to date. He has 28 carries for 237 yards (8.5 ypc) and one TD. Senior running back Darrius Webb (5-10, 170) also has 42 attempts for 175 yards (4.2 ypc) and two scores.

Senior wide receiver Sedarius Young (5-11, 170) has caught four passes for a team-leading 160 yards (40.0 ypc). Goodwin also has six catches out of the backfield for 60 yards (10.0 ypc) and a score.

UNK is averaging 300.7 rushing yards and 457.7 total yards per game early in the season. The Lopers, who are scoring 31.0 points per game, lead the MIAA in rushing and rank third in the league in total offense.

Defensively, UNK is allowing 25.3 points, 105.3 rushing yards and 342.7 total yards per game. The Lopers rank second in the MIAA in rushing defense and third in the league in scoring defense and total defense.

Senior linebacker Sal Silvio (5-10, 205) has made a team-leading 22 tackles (16 solo) with 4.0 tackles-for-loss, 3.0 quarterback sacks, two pass break-ups and a fumble recovery. He leads the MIAA in QB sacks and ranks second in the league in TFLs to date.

Junior cornerback David Tolentino Jr. (5-11, 175) also has made eight tackles (seven solo), an interception, and a team-leading four PBUs.

Senior Kendall Raschein (6-0, 195) has punted 12 times for a 39.4 yard average, while sophomore Junior Gonzalez (6-0, 185) has converted two of four field goal attempts on the year.

____

Click here to sign up for the KOAM News Now Sports newsletter.