Gorilla offense shines in 65-24 beat down
Michael Bauer | sports editor
The Pittsburg State Gorillas showed how flexible their offense was in their 65-24 victory over the Central Oklahoma Bronchos in Edmond, Okla., on Saturday, Sept. 14.
Junior quarterback Anthony Abenoja went 19 of 24 for 211 yards while freshman Dre Holman had 10 carries for 66 yards.
Five players for PSU would rush for 45 or more yards with sophomore running back Jeff Seybold Jr. going for 59 yards off of 15 carries.
“I thought we did a nice job of mixing some plays up,” said Tim Beck, head coach, in an interview with Eddie Lomshek of KKOW.
“We didn’t get tons of movement at times with our offensive line . . . we still had some struggles getting them moved off the ball at times but we just did a nice job of changing things up and spreading it around and getting it to a lot of people. It just makes it tough to defend.”
The Gorillas didn’t take long to get things going with Abenoja finding the end zone on a 15-yard run on Pitt State’s first offensive possession.
On the receiving end, senior wide receiver Levi Kuntzsch had four receptions for 69 yards and one touchdown.
Senior wide receiver John Brown also had four catches for 47 yards and one touchdown.
The main threat for the Gorillas was the Bronchos’ senior running back Joshua Birmingham. Birmingham is the leading rusher in Central Oklahoma’s history, a former First Team All-Mid America Intercollegiate Association (MIAA) player and is coming off a 169-rushing-yard performance from week one.
“I tell you what, first half, I’ll be honest, I was really concerned about that running back (Birmingham),” Beck said. “I thought we did a really nice job of getting a lot of people to him and corralling him a little bit.”
But the Gorilla defense managed to keep him and the Bronchos in check for most of the game.
“He showed what he can do in the second half,” Beck said. “He’s a scary player. When he gets loose, he can go the distance at any time. Overall, defensively, I thought we did a tremendous job.”
A 14-yard touchdown pass by Abenoja to Brown with 42 seconds left in the second quarter sent the Gorillas into the locker room with a 41-3 lead.
PSU scored again right at the start of the third quarter with Abenoja connecting with Seybold for 11 yards.
Junior place kicker Connor Frazell kicked a 39-yard field goal with 6:57 left in the third quarter.
On the defensive side, senior linebacker Nate Dreiling had 10 tackles and junior linebacker Tyler Disney ended the game with four.
The Gorillas’ defense limited the Bronchos’ quarterback, Adrian Nelson, to only 194 passing yards on 19 completions out of 33 and one interception.
Pitt State will now turn its attention to Southwest Baptist in its upcoming game on Saturday, Sept. 21.
SBU enters the game with a 0-2 record with losses to Truman State and Lindenwood.
“We’ve got to put everything in perspective and understand that we’ve got to bear down and take one day at a time this week,” Beck said. “If we want to be a really good football team, then we have to practice better.”
The game will kick off at 7 p.m. at Carnie Smith Stadium.