Pitt State aims to hand #11 Central Missouri first loss

The Mules are 7-0 this season


The Pittsburg State University football team will travel to Warrensburg, Mo., Saturday (Oct. 26) to face unbeaten University of Central Missouri in MIAA action. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. (CDT) at UCM’s Audrey J. Walton Stadium.

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 718 victories, posting a 718-351-48 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 posted five consecutive victories before dropping back-to-back losses to Northwest Missouri State University on Oct. 12 and Fort Hays State University last Saturday (Oct. 19).

Pitt State slid out of this week’s AFCA/NCAA Division II Top 25 poll following the Gorillas 42-41 home loss to the Tigers. [for complete poll, see page 5]

Central Missouri is 7-0 on the season and alone atop the MIAA standings. The Mules have averaged 50.1 points per game and risen from an unranked team to begin the season to No. 11 in this week’s national poll.

The Coaches
Tim Beck
is in his 10th season as head coach at Pitt State. He has compiled an 81-32 (.717) 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 10th meeting vs. the Mules. He is 5-4 vs. UCM.

Jim Svoboda is in his 10th season directing the Mules program and his 18th year as a collegiate coach. Svoboda (Northwestern College, ’83) has a 77-34-0 (.694) record leading the Mules and a 129-53-0 (.709) career mark. He is 4-5 all-time vs. Pitt State.

The Pitt State – UCM Series
This will be the 56th all-time meeting between the Gorillas and Mules in a series that dates all the way back to the 1916 season. Pitt State holds a decided 42-11-2 (.782) advantage in the series, including a 20-5-2 record against UCM at Warrensburg, Mo.

Last year, Pitt State pounded out 438 rushing yards and 544 total yards in an emphatic 48-28 victory over Central Missouri on Oct. 20.

Tucker Horak rushed 19 times for a career high 139 yards, scoring on a one-yard run with 2:23 to play in the second quarter and a 13-yard run with 10:16 remaining in the contest. Tyler Adkins also carried the ball 10 times for 112 yards with second-half scoring jaunts of 35 yards with 10:08 to play in the third quarter and 14:52 remaining in the fourth period.

Keynan Scheurich, who carried the ball five times for 76 yards as well, popped a 30-yard touchdown with 5:40 to play in the third quarter.

Pitt State eclipsed 400 rushing yards for the first time since a 406-yard rushing day against Fort Hays State University on Oct. 24, 2009.

Quarterback John Roderique completed seven of 14 passes for 106 yards with an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Cole Baughman on the Gorillas first offensive possession to help Pitt State knot the score at 7-7 with 4:18 to play in the first quarter.

The Pitt State defense limited UCM to 44 net rushing yards and 323 total yards in the game. The Mules scored a pair of cosmetic touchdowns in the game’s final 8:35 against the Gorillas’ reserves, after falling behind 48-14. UCM compiled gained 145 yards in its final two possession after being limited to 178 yards prior to that point.

The Gorillas registered seven quarterback sacks and safety Morgan Selemaea added an 18-yard fumble return for a touchdown that gave Pitt State a 14-7 lead with 2:51 to play in the opening period.

Gorillas at Home
Pitt State has posted a 101-30-1 (.769) record in its last 132 road games (including post-season play) dating back to the start of the 1994 season. The Gorillas are 37-7 (.841) in their last 44 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 .

PSU’s Regular Season Success
Pitt State has won 308 of its last 375 regular season games, posting a phenomenal 308-65-2 (.824) mark during the past 35 seasons (1985-2019). PSU is 164-27-1 at home, 140-28-1 on the road and 4-10-0 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 259 polls and the Gorillas have been ranked in the top 25 poll in 194 of 259 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 718-351-48 overall record, winning 66.5 percent of their 1,116 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 694 victories, followed by Hillsdale (643), Carson-Newman (637) and Central Oklahoma (635).

UCM has a 563-516-51 (.521) record in 125 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 939 scoring drives (769 TDs, 170 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 40 scoring drives (27 TDs, 13 FGs) 2:40 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 76 times (64 TDs, 12 FGs) in the last 163 games, posting a 68-8 (.895) record in those games. By contrast, Pitt State is 49-38 (.563) 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 five passes for a career-high 163 yards and a TD vs. NWMSU on Oct. 12 and six passes for 152 yards vs. FHSU last week. For the season, West has a team-leading 23 catches for 687 yards (29.9 ypc) and six touchdowns. The Lawton, Okla., native has made 124 career receptions for 2,095 career yards (16.9 ypc) and 15 touchdowns. He ranks fourth in PSU history in career receiving yards and fourth in career receptions. West also has compiled 3,947 career all-purpose yards.

Senior place kicker Jared Vincent set a Pitt State record by converting 17 consecutive field goals between Nov. 3, 2018 and Sept. 28, 2019. The Claremore, Okla., native is 16-for-18 (.889) on field goal attempts on the season. He leads all collegiate kickers (all divisions) in kick scoring (11.9 ppg) and ranks third overall in field goals made (16). Vincent has converted 42 of 51 (.824) career field goal attempts and 120 of 124 (.968) career PAT tries. He has converted 79 straight PAT tries. A two-time All-MIAA performer, Vincent has scored 235 career points (8.2 ppg).

Senior defensive tackle Simanu’a Thomas has made 23 tackles (14 solo) with 6.5 tackles-for-loss and 3.5 quarterback sacks on the season. 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 137 career tackles with 37.5 tackles-for-loss, 16.0 quarterback sacks and seven forced fumbles.

Junior linebacker Kaden Roy posted a team-leading 11 tackles vs. FHSU last week – his third straight double digit tackle game. He was credited with a career-high 12 tackles vs. NWMSU on Oct. 12 and 11 stops vs. LU on Oct. 5. For the season, the Webb City, Mo., native had made a team-high 57 tackles (24 solo) with 4.0 tackles-for-loss.

Scouting The Mules
Senior quarterback Brook Bolles directs the Central Missouri offense. Bolles (6-3, 205) has completed 116 of 207 passes (.622) for 2,213 yards (316.1 ypg) and 25 touchdowns with six interceptions in the Mules first seven games.

Sophomore wide receiver Shae Wyatt (6-0, 190) has been Bolles’ favorite target. Wyatt has caught 30 passes for 757 yards (25.2 ypc) and six touchdowns. Junior tight end Zach Davidson (6-7, 245) has caught 23 passes for 608 yards (26.4 ypc) and 11 touchdowns.

Junior running back Devante Turner (5-9, 185) has carried the ball 100 times for 560 yards (5.6 ypc) and seven touchdowns, while senior running back Koby Wilkerson (6-0, 190) has rushed 79 times for 470 yards (5.9 ypc) and seven touchdowns.

UCM is averaging 336.4 passing yards and 563.1 total yards per game on the season. The Mules are scoring 50.9 points per game. UCM leads NCAA Division II in scoring and total offense and ranks third nationally in passing.

Defensively, UCM is allowing 29.1 points, 119.9 rushing yards and 416.6 total yards per game.

Junior safety Codie Bell (5-10, 185) has made a team-leading 43 tackles (nine solo) with two interceptions and one pass break-up.

Senior linebacker Kolesen Crane (6-0, 210) has made 31 tackles (23 solo), 5.5 tackles-for-loss, 3.5 quarterback sacks, three interceptions and two pass break-ups, while junior defensive end Ubong Udom (6-3, 265) has posted 25 tackles (10 solo), 7.0 tackles-for-loss and a team-leading 6.0 quarterback sacks.

Davidson has punted 25 times for a 42.2 yard average, while sophomore Chris Diddle (6-0, 200) has converted five of seven (.714) field goal attempts and 18 of 21 (.857) PAT tries.

Turner has averaged 30.2 yards on punt returns and 25.4 yards on kickoff returns.


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