Pitt State defense prepares for tough test against Nebraska-Kearney

The Lopers rushed for 350 yards against MSSU last week.

PITTSBURG, Kan. – The Pittsburg State Gorillas host the Nebraska-Kearney Lopers on Saturday in their first home game of the season.

Pittsburg State is 1-0 to begin the year after beating #13 Central Missouri 35-16 in their season opener last week. The Gorillas have moved into the top-25 in the national rankings, sitting at #23 in the AFCA Division II poll.

Nebraska-Kearney is also 1-0 to begin the season, beating Missouri Southern 38-0 to open the season. The Lopers racked up 530+ yards on offense in that game, including 350 rushing yards.

Saturday’s game will be another good early-season test for a confident Pittsburg State defense.

“Their O-line, they come off hard and they want to be physical, too,” says Pitt State defensive lineman Zeke Wall, “It’s just different because they’re downhill and trying to run the ball. We have to prepare for that. We’re here to meet the challenge.”

“It’s difficult on the offensive side, because of the scheme and the option and because of their quarterback,” says PSU head coach Brian Wright of UNK quarterback TJ Davis, “That guy makes them go. He’s a phenomenal player. I’ve been so impressed with him throughout my time here.”

The game on Saturday will be Pitt State’s first home game in front of a full stadium since 2019.

The Gorillas hosted the Lopers last fall in a non-conference game – with limited attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s going to bring a new intensity to everyone who is playing,” Wall says, “Everyone talks about flipping a switch when you get on the field, but this is going to be different.”

“It’s really cool. It’s exciting,” says WR Elijah Harris, “We got full capacity, so I’m excited about that. Last year we had a home game, but we had 25% capacity. Definitely having a full jungle is going to be awesome to see.”

“I’m just excited for our players to be able to have that experience,” Wright says of the home-game atmosphere, “We have a freshman class, and even a freshman class a year ago who haven’t seen that yet. I’m just excited for them to see what game day is like here at Pittsburg State.”

Saturday’s game will begin at 7 PM at Carnie Smith Stadium in Pittsburg.