Gorillas look for homecoming rebound
Trent Johnson | Sports Reporter
Saturday, Oct. 13 at Arrowhead Stadium. The Gorillas lost 31-21.” src=”http://psucollegio.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/IMG_9924-300×205.jpg” alt=”Fans cheer on the Gorillas on Saturday, Oct. 13 at Arrowhead Stadium. The Gorillas lost 31-21.” width=”300″ height=”205″ /> Fans cheer on the Gorillas on Saturday, Oct. 13 at Arrowhead Stadium. The Gorillas lost 31-21.
The Gorillas come back to Carnie Smith Stadium this Saturday needing to bounce back from a loss for the first time all season. On Saturday, Oct. 13, Pittsburg State lost to Northwest Missouri State at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., 31-21. However, the Gorillas did not schedule a pushover for homecoming: They face the Missouri Western State University Griffons, who are also looking to rebound from their first loss of the season, a home defeat at the hands of Missouri Southern State University. Both teams are 5-1 in the MIAA, though the Griffons are 6-1 overall, having played one more game than PSU.
For the Griffons, control of the game starts with the offense, which is one of the most dynamic in the nation. They lead the MIAA in rushing, averaging more than 280 yards per game, yet they also pass for nearly 200 yards per game. Starting running back Michael Hill has already rushed for more than 1,000 yards this season, averages seven yards per carry and has eight total touchdowns. Travis Partridge, starting quarterback, is efficient when asked to throw. He has completed 63 percent of his passes this season.
If there is a kink in the Griffon offense, it’s their knack for turning the ball over. Last week, they turned the ball over twice in the final moments in their loss to Missouri Southern.
The matchup to watch will be how well the Pitt State rush defense does against the Griffon’s rushing offense. Both are ranked No 1. in the MIAA in the respective statistics. The Gorillas will be playing with a chip on their shoulders after giving up 159 yards rushing to Northwest Missouri. That number is still not that bad, but it was well above what the Gorillas normally allow. Pittsburg State’s success against the run this Saturday will depend on the penetration they get from their front four. The Gorillas have depth here as several players can come off the bench and produce at any time.
Defensively, the Griffons are classic “bend, but don’t break.” They are opportunistic: They will give up yards, but they will force you into making mistakes throughout the game. The Griffons surrender 341 yards per game, fifth in the MIAA, yet they are second in scoring defense at 18.3 points per game. It could prove difficult for the Griffons to replicate that defensive success against the stellar Gorilla offense.
The Gorillas score 39.5 points per game and they can beat you multiple ways. A stable of running backs all have different attributes that pose various challenges to defenses, but there is no doubt that this team is built to throw the football. PSU averages more than 300 yards per game passing. Quarterback Anthony Abenoja leads the Gorillas, who are a threat to score at any time, no matter where they are on the field. All-American John Brown leads the team in receiving with 627 yards and six touchdowns.
Carnie Smith Stadium should be electric this Saturday, Oct. 20, with playoff implications on the line.