Classic football setup
Pittsburg State eager to take on Bearcats at Arrowhead
Michael Bauer | sports editor
It’s that time of the year again.
Next up on Pittsburg State’s football menu is the undefeated and second-ranked Northwest Missouri Bearcats in the annual Fall Classic at Arrowhead Stadium. Kick-off will be at 3 p.m.
Battle in the top 10
The Bearcats enter this year’s edition of the Fall Classic with a second-place ranking in the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division II polls and a 6-0 record, while the Gorillas have jumped to seventh in the rankings and are 6-0.
Breaking down NWSU
Quarterback Trevor Adams has so far gone 76 of 102 passes for 1,137 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Bearcats. He is averaging 189.5 yards per game.
Adams’ favorite receiver is Reuben Thomas, with 21 receptions for 320 yards and three touchdowns.
But Adams isn’t the only quarterback PSU has to worry about. Brady Bolles is averaging 104 yards per game passing with eight total touchdowns.
On Northwest’s ground game Robert Burton leads the way with 50 rushes for 317 yards and four touchdowns. He is averaging 52.8 yards per game. Billy Creason has seven touchdowns.
On defense, Eric Reimer has 42 tackles including six for a loss.
Pittsburg State’s answer for the Adams question is junior quarterback Anthony Abenoja.
Abenoja has 17 passing touchdowns and is the current Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) player of the week on offense.
Sophomore running back Jeff Seybold Jr. is averaging 115 yards rushing with 11 touchdowns.
The Gorillas also have senior wide receiver John Brown, who has been breaking records left and right this season. Brown has the most receptions in PSU history with 39 catches for 750 yards and nine touchdowns. He is averaging 125 yards a game.
On the Gorilla defense, senior Nate Dreilling has 56 tackles with one interception and 5.5 tackles for a loss. His performance in last week’s 31-21 victory over Central Missouri was enough to earn him MIAA Defensive Player of the Week.
Northwest Missouri is fresh off a 72-10 victory over Central Oklahoma. Their closest game this far was a 28-24 win over Central Missouri that included Bolles scoring off a 9-yard run with 2:51 left in the game to cancel out the upset.
The Mules led by as much as 17 earlier in the game before the comeback. Since then, the Bearcats have yet to be challenged.
Pitt State survives scare
The Gorillas’ closest game this season was a 28-20 win over Division I Abilene Christian two weeks ago.
Pittsburg State is coming off its most recent victory over Central Missouri.
“Every play is so important,” said Tim Beck, head coach, in an interview with Eddie Lomshek of KKOW. “I know Jeff Seybold was down on himself after the fumble … but the bottom line is he saw the cut and was going to score … He took his eyes off the ball and it got tucked away.”
Time and defensive tenacity severed the Mules’ comeback momentum after Conner Frazell kicked a 28-yard field goal with 8:50 left in the fourth quarter to make the score 31-21 and the Gorillas held on.
After PSU raced to a 28-14 the Mules got the ball back and fumbled again. That triggered a Pitt State five-play, 69-yard drive that concluded with Seybold’s fumble from earlier in the game.
“This game made me nervous,” Beck said. “You can talk until you are blue in the face … Your team sees a team that’s 2-3 and they don’t think they are as good as they are, but Central’s got a nice football team.”