Brown bashes Baptist in 59-7 rout
Michael Bauer | sports editor
After a slow start, the Gorillas’ patience and focus under the leadership of wide receiver John Brown paid off.
Big crowd, big score
Playing in front of the third-largest crowd in Carnie Smith Stadium history on Saturday, Sept. 21, during Family Weekend, Pittsburg State rolled over the Southwest Baptist Bearcats, 59-7.
A total of 10,788 tickets were sold, though many of the max-capacity crowd departed once it became clear that Southwest Baptist had no hope of success midway through the third quarter.
Brown had five receptions for 171 yards and two touchdowns of 57 and 62 yards, respectively. His effort defined a second quarter where the Gorillas exploded with 28 unanswered points.
“We had to get something going. I was just wanting to be the guy to get everything rolling,” Brown said.
The Gorillas improved their record to 3-0 overall while the Bearcats were left still searching for their first win as they moved to 0-3.
Early mistakes all around
Safety Keeston Terry picked off a pass in SBU’s opening drive but fumbled the ball at PSU’s own 31-yard line; the Bearcats recovered.
On the next PSU drive, quarterback Anthony Abenoja and his offense could not get much going after getting the ball deep into Bearcat territory before turning the ball over on downs.
Frustration returned as a high snap went over Abenoja’s head. The quarterback managed to recover but only after scooping it up at the 45.
The drive would not be in vain as kicker Conner Frazell made a 45-yard field goal to put Pitt State in front while the Gorilla defense continued to keep the Bearcats in check.
The Gorillas got going with Abenoja finding Brown on a 57-yard touchdown pass, followed by a 37-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Conner Combes on the next drive.
Then, Abenoja did it again with another touchdown pass to Brown, this time for 62 yards.
Big game for Brown
Brown’s teammates had nothing but praise for him.
“Man, you can’t stop that kid. There’s no way you’re stopping him,” Jason Peete said. “He’s just one of those guys who’s going to give a lot and he’s got a lot to give.”
Tyler Disney says he was glad Brown was on his side.
“He’s wild. He’s always doing something new,” Disney said. “I’m just blessed that he’s on our team and we don’t have to defend him.”
The Gorillas didn’t take long to find the end zone after coming out of the locker room for the second half. Brown took the kickoff to start the third quarter with a 95-yard touchdown run.
Jeff Seybold would add two more touchdown runs of two and one yards respectively in the third before a three-yard run by running back Dre Holman gave the Gorillas a 59-0 lead.
The Gorillas who rose to no. 12 in the national rankings will travel to Jefferson City, Mo., this weekend to go up against the Lincoln University Blue Tigers. It will be the first time since 1987 that Pitt State will play at Lincoln. Just like with Southwest Baptist, the Gorillas have a perfect record over the Blue Tigers.
The Blue Tigers are coming into the contest with a 1-2 record that includes a 47-34 victory over NCAA Division I opponent Grambling State before falling to Missouri Southern State 59-10 last week.
As far as preparations go, head coach Tim Beck says his team will be taking the same approaches as they have with previous encounters.
“The main thing we told our team is understand and prepare the same way every week,” Beck said. “It doesn’t matter who you’re playing. You have to be ready.”
The Blue Tigers are led by running back Morris Henderson, who has 44 carries for 304 yards rushing and last week was named MIAA offensive player of the week.
Despite having a touchdown run on a kick-off return, Beck still thinks there can be room for improvements on PSU’s special teams unit.
“We still have to get better on special teams,” Beck said. “We did some really nice things on special teams but there are things we can improve.”
Lincoln is coached by former Super Bowl winning linebacker Mike Jones, the player who made the game-saving tackle for the St. Louis Rams at the 1-yard line to prevent Tennessee Titans’ wide receiver Kevin Dyson from scoring on the final play in Super Bowl XXXIV back in January 2000.
Last year, the Gorillas crushed the Blue Tigers 59-17 to improve their undefeated record over Lincoln to 8-0.