Gorillas make Riverhawks turn red
Michael Bauer | sports editor
Any question marks that the Pittsburg State Gorillas had concerning their rushing game were silenced in their opening game of the season.
With leading rushers from last year Briceton Wilson and Jason Spradling gone and senior Solomon Watkins lost for the rest of the season with a torn-ACL, the Gorillas’ performance during their rushing game was put in question.
Sophomore running back Jeff Seybold Jr. and the rest of the rushing unit gave the perfect response in helping the Gorillas to 362 total yards rushing in a 45-6 rout of the Northeastern State Riverhawks at Carnie Smith Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 7.
“I felt pretty good,” Seybold said. “Tried to get hydrated because I was cramping up a bit but that was because it was the first game and the heat. I felt pretty loose out there.”
Seybold only needed six carries to rush for 134 yards which included an 80-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
“That’s just great blocking.” Seybold Seybold needed only six carries to rush for 134 yards, which included an 80-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
“That’s just great blocking,” Seybold said. “Open field is what I saw (on the touchdown run).”
From the first offensive play of the game the Gorillas took off a quick start and didn’t look back.
Freshman running back Stevan Sullivan took the ball on a 38-yard carry on a drive that culminated in him finding the end zone for six on a four-yard carry and the game would stay in PSU’s favor the rest of the way.
“Stevan made a nice move on that touchdown,” said Tim Beck, head coach. “This was his first time and experience, but he’s a nice player and did a nice job when he got the opportunity.”
Junior quarterback Anthony Abenoja would finish the night with 11 carries for 86 yards rushing while going 18-24 for 228 yards and a total of three touchdown passes.
“Everyone was doing their jobs and when they do their jobs, it makes the night pretty easy,” Abenoja said.
Abenoja would go on to be named the Mid-America Intercollegiate Association’s (MIAA) offensive player of the week.
“Every time we score and get on the field, we want to get into the end zone,” Abenoja said. “The o-line did a good job blocking for Jeff (Seybold) and it was really good for us.”
Senior wide receiver John Brown finished with six catches for 78 yards and helped the Gorillas to 228 yards passing.
Junior wide receiver Gavin Lutman was another key target from Abenoja with four receptions for 71 yards and two touchdowns in the first half in helping PSU to a 21-0 lead with 3:56 in the second quarter.
“I’m not scared to throw to any receiver,” Abenoja said. “They all have their talents and if they’re open, I’m throwing them the ball.”
While the Gorillas showed positive signs against Northeastern State University, their defense must now go up against a Central Oklahoma Broncho squad known to live for running the ball.
The Bronchos bring back running back Joshua Birmingham, the leading rusher from last year, who compiled 1,073 yards on the ground.
“Birmingham’s a tremendous running back,” Beck said. “He’ll be something we have to coral.”
Though the Bronchos are coming off a 52-28 loss to Missouri Southern State, Birmingham had his 15th 100-yard rushing game of his career, racking up 169 yards and four touchdowns on 29 carries.
Last year, Birmingham ran for 122 yards and one touchdown against the Gorillas.
But despite having to face a confident rushing team in Central Oklahoma, Beck says he is not too concerned about UCO, rather on how they approach them.
“We just have to be prepared and make sure we get into a good routine and do things the right way and practice fast paced and being smart about how we do things,” Beck said.