No. 18 Gorillas Set to Host Hornets for Homecoming Saturday
Press Release PSU:
The Pittsburg State University football team, the No. 18 ranked team in NCAA Division II, will return to Brandenburg Field/Carnie Smith Stadium Saturday (Oct. 11) to face MIAA rival Emporia State University for the Gorillas’ Homecoming Game.
Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. (CDT).
Pittsburg State, the winningest all-time NCAA Division II program, brings a 4-1 record into Saturday’s action. The Gorillas posted a 23-13 road win over Missouri Western State University in their last action Saturday (Oct. 4).
Emporia State is 3-2 on the season after claiming a 37-22 home win over Lindenwood University last Saturday (Oct. 4).
Tim Beck is in his fifth season as head coach at Pitt State. He has compiled a 40-13 (.755) career record.
Beck led his alma mater (PSU, ’88) to the 2011 NCAA Division II National Championship three seasons ago, 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 2013, the Gorillas opened the season 5-0 before finishing the year 7-3 overall, while last year Pitt State posted the program’s 20th all-time 10-win season during a 10-2 campaign.
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 third meeting vs. the Hornets. He is 1-1 vs. Emporia.
ESU’s Garrin Higgins is in his eighth year leading the Hornets and his 13th year as a collegiate coach. Higgins (ESU, ’92) has compiled a 41-41 (.500) record leading his alma mater as well as a 92-50 (.648) career mark. He is 1-4 vs. Pitt State, averaging a 42-10 defeat in those games.
The Pitt State-Emporia State Series
This will be the 93rd all-time meeting between the Gorillas and the Hornets in a series that dates all the way back to the 1915 season. The Pitt State-Emporia State series is the ninth-longest rivalry in NCAA Division II football.
Pitt State holds a commanding 58-32-2 advantage in the series. The Gorillas are 28-16-1 vs. the Hornets in Pittsburg and 30-16-1 vs. the Hornets at Emporia all-time.
Pitt State is 30-5 in its last 35 meetings against Emporia State and the Gorillas have won 18 of the last 19 encounters in Pittsburg, dating back to the 1975 season.
The last time the two teams met, Pitt State posted a 38-14 win in Pittsburg on Sept. 10, 2011.
Gorillas on Homecoming
Pitt State has posted a 52-11-2 (.815) record in Homecoming games since 1949.
The Gorillas are 28-6 (.824) on Homecoming since 1980. Last year, the Gorillas rolled to a 69-6 victory over Lincoln on Homecoming.
This will be the eighth time the Gorillas will face the Hornets on Homecoming. Pitt State is 4-2-1 in its last seven meetings against ESU on Homecoming.
The last Homecoming battle between the squads came on Oct. 18, 2003, with the Hornets taking a 22-20 victory on Justin Gray’s 34-yard field goal in the game’s final minute.
PSU’s Regular Season Success
Pitt State has won 269 of its last 318 regular season games, posting a phenomenal 269-47-2 (.849) mark during the past 30 seasons (1985-2014). PSU is 146-16-1 at home, 119-22-1 on the road and 4-9-0 at neutral sites in the regular season during that span.
Gorillas At Home
Pitt State holds a 336-122-12 (.728) record in 470 games inside Carnie Smith Stadium (including postseason). The Gorillas have won 137 of their last 154 regular season home games, posting a 137-16-1 record (.893) over the last 30 seasons.
Emporia is 11-3 (.529) in its last 14 road games, since the start of the 2012 season; and the Hornets have compiled a 17-24 (.415) road record since 2007 when head coach Garin Higgins took over the Hornets’ program.
Pitt State in the AFCA Top 25 Poll
Pitt State has been ranked in Division II’s top 10 107 times in the last 195 polls and the Gorillas have been ranked in the top 25 poll in 169 of 195 weeks overall (dating back to the 1999 season).
Following their 23-13 victory over Missouri Western, the Gorillas climbed one spot to No. 18 in this week’s poll released Monday, Oct. 6.
All-Time Winningest Programs
Pittsburg State is the all-time winningest NCAA Division II football program. The Gorillas, who are in their 107th season of intercollegiate competition, have compiled a 677-332-48 overall record, winning 66.3 percent of their 1,057 all-time games.
Pittsburg State is one of just 17 NCAA Division II institutions to have recorded 500 all-time victories and the Gorillas are just one of four schools to have reached the 600-win plateau. Tuskegee is second on the all-time list with 651 victories, followed by Hillsdale (610), Carson-Newman (601) and Central Oklahoma (598).
Pitt State Defense Leads Country in Points Allowed
The Pittsburg State University defense has allowed just 27 points in the Gorillas first five games, a scant 5.4 points per game average.
Pitt State has posted two shutouts – 37-0 over Northeastern State in Pittsburg on Sept. 6 and 42-0 over Washburn at Topeka on Sept. 20 – and currently leads NCAA Division II in scoring defense.
The Gorillas last posted two shutouts in a season in 2007. That squad posted three shutouts during an 8-3 campaign.
Pitt State’s 14 points allowed is the lowest four-game total since 1961, when the Gorillas posted five straight shutouts to open their National Championship campaign. That squad allowed just seven points in their first eight games, with seven shutouts, and ended the season allowing just 45 points in 11 games (4.1 ppg).
Lowest PSU Five-Game Opponent Scoring Total to Open a Season (since 1954, last 50 years)
1. 0 1961
2. 27 2014
3. 28 1971
4. 33 1957
5. 39 1987
Since joining NCAA Division II in 1989, Pitt State has recorded 33 shutouts. The Gorillas recorded one or more shutout in every year between 1989 and 2007, except 1998.
No MIAA team has recorded more shutouts in the last 26 seasons (1989-2014) than Pitt State. Central Missouri has the second-most shutouts with 19, while NW Missouri State is third with 13.
This marks the 10th time since joining NCAA Division II that Pitt State has posted two or more shutouts in a season (1989, 1991, 1993-94, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2014).
Defense Among Nation’s Finest
In addition to leading NCAA Division II in points allowed, the Pitt State defense ranks among the nation’s top squads in several statistical categories.
The Gorillas also lead the country in red zone defense, allowing just three scores in eight opponent trips inside the Pitt State red zone (.375, 3-for-8).
Pitt State ranks second nationally in passing efficiency defense (73.2 rating), third in first down defense (54, 10.8 pg) and passing yards allowed (120.2 ypg), fourth in total defense (198.2 ypg), fourth in third-down conversion defense (.227) and 10th in rushing defense (78.0 ypg).
Ground Game PSU’s Bread and Butter…
Pitt State’s success can be directly linked to its ability to rush the football.
Since the 1986 season, PSU has rushed for 200-plus yards in 286 of 346 overall games. The Gorillas have posted a 255-30-1 (.893) record when they eclipse 200 yards rushing. Pitt State is an even more impressive 139-6-0 (.959) when it eclipses 300 yards rushing.
By contrast, PSU is just 28-33-1 (.460) in the handful of games when it has been held below 200 yards rushing.
Since 1986, PSU has rushed the ball for the highest yardage total among all NCAA Division II programs, with 98,633 yards (including postseason competition) for an average of 285.1 yards per game.
… But Don’t Overlook Pitt State Passing Attack
While it’s no secret Pitt State’s offensive success has been predicated on running the football, the Gorillas have unleashed a potent passing attack to compliment their stalwart running game.
Since the start of the 2004 season, the Gorillas have passed for 27,270 yards and 207 TDs, averaging 229.2 passing yards and 1.7 touchdown passes per game in the last 119 outings.
In 2013, quarterback Anthony Abenoja established a new single-season passing record, averaging 246.2 passing yards per game. Also, against Lincoln on Sept. 28 Abenoja established new school single game records for passing yards (442), passing touchdowns (5) and total offense (463 yards).
The Gorillas averaged 247.7 passing yards with 31 touchdowns and five interceptions last year. This year, Abenoja has become the school’s all-time passing yards leader (6,774) and he’s averaging 245.2 passing yards with nine touchdowns and no interceptions.
Quick Strike Offense
The Pitt State offense has exhibited a penchant for being a “quick strike” unit.
During the last 10 seasons (2005-14), the Pitt State offense has generated 635 scoring drives (537 TDs, 98 FGs) and averaged just 2:36 of elapsed time per drive. [Overtime scoring drives not included in elapsed time figures.]
2005 97 scoring drives (86 TDs, 11 FGs) 2:40 elapsed time 2010 41 scoring drives (34 TDs, 7 FGs) 3:04 elapsed time
2006 79 scoring drives (72 TDs, 7 FGs) 2:14 elapsed time 2011 78 scoring drives (60 TDs, 18 FGs) 2:54 elapsed time
2007 64 scoring drives (55 TDs, 9 FGs) 3:02 elapsed time 2012 51 scoring drives (40 TDs, 11 FGs) 2:58 elapsed time
2008 69 scoring drives (61 TDs, 8 FGs) 3:23 elapsed time 2013 83 scoring drives (70 TDs, 13 FGs) 2:29 elapsed time
2009 49 scoring drives (44 TDs, 5 FGs) 3:21 elapsed time 2014 24 scoring drives (15 TDs, 9 FGs) 3:14 elapsed time
The Gorillas have been highly successful when they are quick out of the gates. Pitt State has scored on its opening drive 56 times (46 TDs, 10 FGs) in the last 113 games, posting a 53-3 (.946) record in those games. By contrast, Pitt State is 30-27 (.526) in games it doesn’t score on its opening drive during the same span.
Pitt State Displays Prolific Offense
The Pitt State offense has asserted itself as one of the top units in NCAA Division II the past 11 seasons (2004-14). Pitt State’s high octane “multiple choice” offense ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 nationally in both scoring and total offense in three of the last eight seasons.
In 2004, PSU staked its claim as the most prolific offense in the history of NCAA football, leading Division II in scoring (55.8 ppg), rushing (354.7 ypg) and total offense (598.4 ypg).
Pitt State broke the NCAA’s 118-year-old all-time all division scoring record with 837 points, besting the old mark of 765 points set by Harvard in 1886. The Gorillas also broke the all-time NCAA all division records for rushing (5,320 yards) and total offense (8,976 yards) in 2004.
Oklahoma set the previous rushing record (5,196 yards) in 1971, and Texas Tech held the previous total offense mark (7,576 yards) in 2003.
In 2005, Pitt State ranked second nationally in scoring and total offense, averaging 46.8 points and 536.0 total yards per game. The Gorillas also ranked seventh nationally in rushing, averaging 295.2 yards a game.
In 2006, Pitt State led NCAA Division II in scoring and ranked No. 2 nationally in total offense, averaging 44.8 points and 454.8 total yards per game in 2006.
In 2007, the Gorillas ranked 21st nationally in scoring and 19th nationally in total offense, averaging 37.4 points and 454.2 total yards per game. In 2008, Pitt State ranked 18th nationally in scoring (35.5 ppg) and 21st in the nation in total offense (432.6 ypg).
In 2009, the Pitt State offense averaged 29.4 points and 434.4 total yards per game, while the Gorillas averaged 22.8 points and 357.7 total yards per game in 2010.
In 2011, the Gorillas ranked sixth nationally in scoring (40.2 ppg) and 19th in the country in total offense (448.5 ypg), while the Gorillas ranked 24th nationally in total offense (454.4 ypg) and 27th in the country in rushing offense (204.6 ypg) in 2012. Last year, Pitt State ranked third nationally in scoring (46.5 ppg) and 10th in the country in total offense (499.0 ypg).
The Gorillas are averaging 29.2 points and 403.6 yards of total offense this season.
Abenoja Among Nation’s Top Quarterbacks
Senior quarterback Anthony Abenoja is in his third year directing the high-powered Pitt State offense.
Abenoja (6-3, 217) has compiled a 21-6 (.778) record as the Gorillas’ starter under center.
The Overland Park, Kan., native became Pitt State’s all-time passing leader on Sept. 11 against Lindenwood, when he completed 20 of 31 passes for 323 yards and three TDs. He garnered MIAA Offensive Player of the Week honors on Sept. 20 when he completed 19 of 33 passes for 330 yards and four TDs against Washburn.
For the season, he has completed 87 of 139 passes (.626) for 1,226 yards (245.2 ypg) and nine touchdowns with no interceptions.
He currently leads the MIAA and ranks 12th in NCAA Division II in passing efficiency with a 163.2 rating.
For his career, Abenoja has completed 454 of 737 passes (.616) for 6,774 yards and 57 touchdowns. He also has rushed for 626 net yards to compile 7,400 yards of total offense.
Abenoja has recorded three of the top four single-game passing totals in school history, including a 442-yard passing performance against Lincoln as a junior in 2013. He already holds the school’s career completions record, and he also ranks fourth on Pitt State’s career total offense list with 7,400 yards.
PSU Career Passing Yards Comp-Att Yards
1. Anthony Abenoja, 2011-pr. 454-737 6774
PSU Career Passing Touchdowns TDs
1. Neal Philpot, 2001-04 61
2. Anthony Abenoja, 2011-pr. 57
PSU Career Total Offense Pass Rush Total
1. Neal Philpot, 2001-04 5831 4337 10168
3. Mark Smith, 2005-08 5190 2367 7554
4. Anthony Abenoja, 2011-pr. 6774 626 7400
Cushon Closing in On 1,000 Yards
Junior wide receiver Marquise Cushon recorded his fourth career 100-yard receiving game – and his third this season – against Missouri Western last Saturday (Oct. 4).
The Kansas City, Mo., native caught seven passes for a game-high 111 yards against the Griffons. For the season, Cushon (5-10, 162) has a team-leading 24 catches for 474 yards (19.8 ypc) and two touchdowns.
For his career, Cushon has 47 receptions for 876 yards (18.6 ypc) and five touchdowns. He needs 134 more yards to eclipse 1,000 career receiving yards.
Cushon also has 24 carries for 199 rushing yards (8.3 ypc) and he’s compiled 1,701 career all-purpose yards.
Bausby Climbs PBU List
Senior cornerback De’Vante Bausby recorded a pair of pass break-ups in the Gorillas’ last action against Missouri Western.
For the season, Bausby (6-2, 179) has made 21 tackles (11 solo), including 1.0 TFL and 0.5 quarterback sack. He also has two interceptions and five PBUs to his credit. The Kansas City, Mo., native now has 26 career pass break-ups, ranking in fifth place on PSU’s career list. He also has nine career INTs.
PSU Career Pass Break-ups PBUs
1. Ted Adams, 1986-89 40
2. Travis Stepps, 1997-2001 28
2. Levi Neville, 2000-03 28
4. De’Vante Bausby, 2011-pres. 26
Frazell Earns MIAA Special Teams Honor
Senior place kicker Connor Frazell has provided a steady leg to Pitt State’s kicking game the past three seasons.
Frazell (6-0, 183) booted three field goals – from 25, 25 and 34 yards – in the Gorillas’ 23-14 victory vs. Missouri Western last Saturday (Oct. 4) to earn MIAA Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
The Iola, Kan., native established a new PSU record by making 14 consecutive field goals – he made the final 10 field goal attempts of the 2013 season and his first four tries in 2014.
For the season, he has converted nine of 12 field goals. During his three-year career, Frazell has converted 33 of 42 (.786) field goals and 124 of 127 (.976) PATs.
PSU Career Field Goals FGs
1. Josh Barcus, 1995-98 44
2. James Jenkins, 1988-81 35
3. Connor Frazell, 2012-pres. 33
PSU Career Kick Scoring Points
1. Nathan Alleman, 2003-06 401
3. Josh Barcus, 1995-98 287
4. Connor Frazell, 2012-pres. 223
Scouting the Hornets
Emporia State has compiled a 3-2 record through its first five games. The Hornets have posted back-to-back wins, including a 37-22 victory over Lindenwood University in its last action on Oct. 4, to get above .500 after a 1-2 start to the season.
The Hornets are scoring 35.4 points per game and averaging 449.8 total yards (154.6 rushing, 295.2 passing).
Redshirt freshman quarterback Ty Reasnor (6-2, 190) will make his second start of the season against the Gorillas, after starter Brent Wilson suffered an injury in ESU’s double OT win over Northeastern State on Sept. 27. Reasnor earned MIAA Offensive Player of the Week honors in his first start, completing 30 of 37 passes for 196 yards and three TDs against LWU.
Sophomore running back Antonio Brown (5-11, 195) has carried the ball a team-leading 84 times for 369 yards (4.4 ypc) and four touchdowns.
Senior wide receiver Austin Willis (5-10, 185) has a team-leading 29 catches for 545 yards (18.8 ypc) and six TDs, while junior wide receiver Kavaski Ervin (5-9, 180) has 27 grabs for 246 yards (9.1 ypc) and four scores.
Defensively, the Hornets are allowing 31.8 points and 423.8 total yards per game (186.6 rushing, 237.2 passing).
Junior linebacker Jason Tetuan (6-1, 225) has made a team-leading 32 tackles (16 solo) with 1.5 quarterback sacks and one PBU.
Senior safety Kadeem Satchell (6-2, 210) has 30 stops (21 solo) with two interceptions and one pass break-up, while redshirt freshman A.J. West (5-10, 185) has a team-leading four PBUs for the Hornets.
Redshirt freshman kicker Austin Morton (5-9, 180) has converted three of four field goals and 22 of 24 PATs on the season. Senior Lyndell Johnson (6-3, 215) has averaged 23.0 yards on four punt returns, including a 69-yard return for a score.