PittSports

  • Hall named player of the week

    | Michael Bauer sports editor |

    Junior linebacker Colby Hall has been named as the MIAA Defensive Player of the Week.
    The announcement was made on Monday, Oct. 20.

    Colby Hall

    Colby Hall


    Hall made his second career start on Saturday, Oct. 18, in the Gorillas’ 35-17 win over the No. 1 ranked Northwest Missouri State Bearcats.
    Filling in for injured linebacker senior Tyler Disney, the native of Lamar, Mo., made a career-high 18 tackles (two solo) in the game and the Gorillas limited the defending national champions to only 17 points and 328 total yards.
    The Bearcats entered the game averaging an MIAA best 40.7 points and 458.7 total yards.
    Hall forced a fumble in the third quarter by running back Robert Burton III that led to a 45-yard touchdown return by sophomore safety Deron Washington to give the Gorillas a 35-10 advantage. He also picked off a pass by Northwest Missouri State quarterback Brady Bolles to hurt the Bearcats’ chances of coming from behind.

  • Football faces UNK, first time in nine years

    | Michael Bauer sports editor |

    It’s been nine years since the Pittsburg State Gorillas have faced the Nebraska-Kearney Lopers.
    The last time the two teams faced, the Gorillas sent the Lopers packing with a 49-20 win in the first-round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.
    Fast forward to 2014 and things have changed a little bit.
    Nebraska-Kearney has since joined the MIAA conference, switching allegiance in 2012 and has since found life difficult. The Lopers have compiled an 8-21 record since 2012.
    The Lopers will enter the jungle for this Saturday’s 2 p.m. kickoff with a 2-5 record this year, coming in with a two-game winning streak, striking Northeastern State, 34-7 and Lindenwood 31-13.
    Despite the shortcomings, Nebraska-Kearny’s strength is their rushing game, which ranks second in the conference with 1,468.
    The leader of its rushing attack is quarterback Bronson Marsh, who has compiled 616 net yards and nine touchdowns. He’s averaging 88 yards-per-game. Running back Romero Cotton has rushed for 518 net yards as well.
    As a passing unit, however, the Lopers rank second to last in the MIAA with only 836 yards total.
    The Gorilla’s offense is currently top in the conference with 2,066 yards, the only school with over 2,000 yards.
    Marsh has gone 83-167 for 836 yards and six touchdowns through the air along with four interceptions.
    Led by the number one unit in the conference, Pitt State’s defense shut down the defending national champion Northwest Missouri State Bearcats in last week’s 35-17 win. When it comes to stopping the rush, PSU’s defense sits at third with 714 yards.

  • Volleyball falls to UCM

    | Michael Bauer sports editor |

    Though the Pittsburg State volleyball team bounced back from two heavy loses, it wasn’t enough to overcome the 21st-ranked Central Missouri Jennies as the Gorillas lost 3-2 on Saturday, Oct. 18, at John Lance Arena.
    Losing the first set 25-13 and then the second, 25-12, the Gorillas recovered with a 25-21 win in the third to avoid a sweep and survived the fourth set, 25-23 before losing the fifth, 16-14.
    The Gorillas out-blocked the Jennies 15 to 4.
    Sophomore Madi Mosier was the PSU leader in blocks with seven total, (three solo, four assisted). Senior Paula Okrutna had six blocks (four solo, two assited) and freshman Ary Crittleton added four blocks. Senior Hayley Hansford had three.
    In the third set, the Gorillas came out firing, taking an early lead that lasted until the Jennies came back to tie the set at 16.
    Central Missouri proceeded to go in front on a service ace.
    However, Pitt State took advantage of three straight attack errors by the Jennies and the Gorillas took a 22-18 lead and held on for the win.
    Central Missouri was the second opponent that Pitt State has fallen to in its last three home games.
    PSU had 12 kills and 14 attack errors for a negative attack percentage. The UCM had 28 kills and 10 errors.
    Carly Sojka had 22 kills for the Jennies while Hayley Thompson had 17. Sojka finished with 22.5 points while Thompson had 20.5.
    In the fifth set, the Jennies took an 8-6 lead before the Gorillas battled back to tie the set at 9-9. The Gorillas took a 12-11 lead after a kill by Mosier. But the Jennies went on a 3-0 run to come within a point of taking the win before kills by Mosier and Okrutna tied the game at 14. However, UCM hung on for the win.
    PSU came off a 3-0 win over the Lindenwood Lions on Friday, Oct. 17, at John Lance Arena.
    Pitt State took the first two sets by the score of 25-19 and finished off Lindenwood 25-22 for the sweep.
    Mosier had 12 kills while Crittleton had 11. Okrutna had nine kills and two errors.
    The Gorillas sit at 7-14 overall and 4-9 in the MIAA conference while sitting in eighth place.
    The Pittsburg State volleyball team hosted nationally ranked Central Oklahoma at home on Tuesday, Oct. 14, losing in three sets, 25-22, 25-22 and 25-16.
    Before that, the Gorillas defeated the Emporia State Hornets on Saturday, Oct. 11, in five sets. The Hornets won the first set 25-19 but the Gorillas answered back 26-24 in the second. ESU responded in the third 25-19 and PSU took the fourth set 25-23 to force a fifth set where the Gorillas won 15-9.
    Pittsburg State will next take on the Nebraska-Kearney Lopers in a road game on Friday, Oct. 24. On Saturday, Oct. 25, the Gorillas will face Fort Hays State before traveling to take on Southwest Baptist on Tuesday, Oct. 28.

  • Streak broken

    Gorillas snap NWMSU’s 21-game winning stretch

    | Michael Bauer sports editor |

    By the time Pittsburg State scored its fourth touchdown in the first half, the Gorillas were well on their way to erasing two years of frustration against the Northwest Missouri State Bearcats, on Saturday, Oct. 18, in Maryville, Mo.
    Two consecutive on-side kick-offs recovered by the Gorillas helped PSU (6-1) to a 28-0 second quarter lead and a final score of 35-17, ending NWMSU’s 21-game winning streak and creating a two-way tie for first place in the MIAA standings.
    “We are absolutely thrilled,” said Tim Beck, head coach, in his post-game interview with Eddie Lomshek of KKOW. “They’re a great football team. There is no doubt about it.”

    The Gorillas fight to keep control of the ball during their game against Northwest Missouri State on Saturday, Oct. 18.

    The Gorillas fight to keep control of the ball during their game against Northwest Missouri State on Saturday, Oct. 18.


    Playing at Bearcat Stadium for the first time since the 2008 play-offs, the Gorillas crashed the defending national champions’ homecoming.
    It was the second win over the Bearcats in the last eight years in the regular season.
    Fittingly, the 35-17 win was also the most-lopsided victory for the Gorillas in the series since their last win over the Bearcats, 41-13 in the 2011 play-offs.
    Pitt State recovered two consecutive onside kicks in the second quarter to jump from a 14-0 lead to 28-0 in the span of two minutes.
    The Gorillas were the first on the board with a seven-play, 78-yard scoring drive with junior wide receiver Andre Sanders catching a 41-yard touchdown pass with 4:48 in the first quarter.
    Junior wide receiver Marquise Cushon recovered Pittsburg State’s ensuing kick-off but an off-sides call forced PSU to re-kick and the Bearcats got the ball back. Early in the second, sophomore quarterback Ramsey Hamilton hooked up with Cushon for 25 yards to put the Gorillas ahead by 14.
    This time, the Gorillas did not mess up the on-side kick, recovering the ball at the NWMSU 37-yard line.
    Taking advantage of the ideal field position, the Gorillas drove down in three plays and Abenoja hit junior running back Jamal Tyler for 24-yards.
    Once again, on the following kick-off, the Gorillas recovered, this time on the Bearcat 46. Five plays later, Abenoja threw to Lutman for the 11-yard touchdown and the PSU lead was 28-0 with 10:51 before the half.
    “We knew we would have to do a couple things to kind of rattle them up a little bit,” Beck said at halftime. “It was unfortunate that we didn’t get the onside with Marquise (Cushon). It was a great executed play, I thought.”

    Sophomore safety Deron Washington returned a fumble for 45 yards in the third quarter and PSU led 35-10.
    Senior quarterback Anthony Abenoja went 19-38 for 318 yards but also threw three interceptions. The offense had four turnovers. Senior wide receiver Gavin Lutman had six catches for 134 yards.
    “We saw two great defenses going at it out there,” Beck said. “Since 2004, they are 64-4 or something at home. They’ve just had a phenomenal run. They’ve got an outstanding football team.”
    Safety Jared Fox had three interceptions for the Bearcats and All-American defensive end Matt Longacre had five tackles. All-American linebacker D.J. Gnader had eight tackles total.
    The Gorilla defense was without senior linebacker Tyler Disney, who sat out due to an injury. No problem. Junior linebacker Colby Hall made a career-best 18 tackles with a forced fumble and an interception. Senior safety Jason Peete had 10 stops.
    “He (Hall) is a competitor,” Beck said. “He is very serious about what he is doing. He really pays close attention. What an outstanding job for him to step up and do what he did today.”
    Hall’s interception in the second half was the final nail in the coffin for the Bearcats.
    “It’s been a blast,” Hall said. “I can’t explain how it’s been lately. We all know that once a guy goes down, we all need to step up a little bit more. Especially with Tyler, as much of a leader as he is. I was just trying my best to do his job.”
    NWMSU quarterback Brady Bolles went 20-40 for 161 yards and was sacked three times while Korey Jackson had six catches for 39 yards. Phil Jackson rushed for 82 yards.
    It was the first time that Bolles had been held to under 200 yards in a game all year.
    “Numbers are numbers, but the bottom line is, our guys up front fought hard to get pressure,” Beck said. “The secondary played well and our guys up front put some pressure on him to really help us.”
    The Bearcats had two drives in the fourth quarter that ended up as turnovers on downs. The first one came after Bolles was sacked for a 7-yard loss by senior corner back De’Vante Bausby on third down that put the Bearcats in a fourth-and-17 and were unable to convert.
    Bolles completed a 6-yard pass to TJ Schieber for the touchdown with 32 seconds left but it would not matter.
    Pitt State will next play Nebraska-Kearney at home on Saturday, Oct. 25. The game will kick off at 2 p.m.

  • MIAA Division 2 players of the week

    Frazell earns accolades for football

    | Michael Bauer Sports Editor |

    Senior field-goal kicker Connor Frazell was named the MIAA Special Teams Player of the Week on Monday, Oct. 6.
    Frazell, from Iola, booted three field goals to help the Gorillas to a 23-13 win over the Missouri Western State Griffons on Saturday, Oct. 4, in St. Joseph, Mo.
    Frazell kicked field goals of 25, 25 and 34 yards in the game. His first kick gave the Gorillas a 17-10 lead in the second quarter. Frazell was the only player to get on to the scoreboard in the second half from either team with his 25-yard kick in the third quarter and a 34-yarder in the fourth quarter.
    Frazell booted two field goals in the Gorillas’ loss to Fort Hays State a week earlier. He has been nine of 12 on field goals this season with his longest being 37 yards.
    The third-year PSU kicker was a transfer from Butler Community College after playing the 2011 season with the Grizzlies before arriving at Pittsburg State.
    Others nominated were Marquez Clark of Central Oklahoma, Will Mondragon of Central Missouri and Drew O’Brien of Missouri Southern State.

    DeVries named cross country recipient

    | Michael Bauer sports editor |

    Junior Hannah DeVries was named the MIAA Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week.
    DeVries, from Kansas City, Mo., finished seventh overall at the Kansas University Rim Rock Farm Collegiate Classic on Saturday, Oct. 4, in Lawrence. She was top among non-NCAA Division I and unattached athletes in her race. DeVries finished the 6-kilometer race in 22 minutes and 20.0 seconds, helping the Pittsburg State women’s cross country team to a fifth-place finish out of the 12-team field. The Gorillas were the top non-Division I team in the competition. Others nominated for the honor included Morgan Benesch of Nebraska-Kearney, Emily Harris of Missouri Southern State, Anne Herbert of Northwest Missouri State and Micki Krzesinski of Fort Hays State.
    The Gorilla cross country teams will next compete on Saturday, Oct. 25, at the Missouri S&T Jackling Jock Invitational in Rolla, Mo.

  • Women, men go one/two in D-II

    | Charles A. Ault reporter |

    The men’s cross country team placed second and the women’s team won among non-D-I colleges at the University of Kansas Rim Rock Collegiate Challenge on Saturday, Oct. 4.
    “Overall we did about as well as we should be at this point,” coach Russ Jewett said. “There were a few racers that didn’t have their best day, but we raced to our capacity and got beaten by some very good teams.”
    The lead racer for the Gorillas, junior Austin Bogina, came in 11th overall, sixth in his division, with a time of 25:30.1.
    “I am happy to see Austin still up at the front. He is very fit. All the hard work he has been putting in is really paying off,” Jewett said.
    Freshman Alex Conn finished next for the Gorillas. His time of 26:02.5 earned him 30th overall and 11th in his division; sophomore Ren Bean placed 38th overall and 14th in his division with a time of 26:18.9 in a performance Jewett describes as “a bit of a breakthrough.”
    Senior Talon Thompson, in 39th/15th place, followed Bean. Also placing for the Gorillas was sophomore Andrew Rodgers in 41st/17th place.
    The 48 points the Gorilla men garnered put them in second place in the non-D-I division above Drury with 81 points but behind division winners Nebraska-Kearney with 18 points.
    Overall, Jewett says the conditions could hardly have been better for a meet.
    “It was a little windy by the second race, but perfect for running,” Jewett said. “The ground was a little soft because of all the rain. The course was different this year and there were no make-or-break hills; we were essentially running the easier Rock Rim course.
    “The men need a strong No. 2 and No. 3 runner to emerge,” Jewett said.
    The already small women’s squad raced only six of its nine runners – the other three being out with injuries. In spite of these hardships the team still performed well.
    Leading the women’s team was junior Hannah DeVries, who placed seventh overall and second in her division with a time of 22:20.0.
    “I was very impressed with Hannah’s performance,” Jewett said. “She beat all but one runner from (the University of) Kansas.”
    The second-place finisher for the Gorillas was freshman Katren Rienbolt in 30th overall, fifth in her division, with a time of 23:15.1. Next was senior Alex Moase in 46th overall, eighth in her division, with a time of 23:50.1.
    Also placing for the women’s team were freshman Paige Penton in 57th/13th and sophomore Shannon Danaher in 65th/17th.
    Forty-one points was enough to earn the women first place in the non-D-I division, tied with Fort Hays State but with a faster average time. This placed the Gorillas over MIAA conference teams Nebraska-Kearney and Emporia State
    “The women did well today, especially for being such a small group,” Jewett said.
    The next meet for the cross country teams is the Missouri S&T Jackling Jock Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 25.

  • Volleyball falls to Griffons in three sets

    | Michael Bauer sports editor |

    Event though the Pitt State volleyball team committed only 10 errors in the match, the Gorillas will still not able to overcome the Griffons of Missouri Western State on Saturday, Oct. 4.
    PSU lost to MWSU in three sets during the away meet in St. Joseph, Mo.
    The Gorillas had a hit at .320 for the match, one of the team’s best attack percentages of the season. However, the Griffons had nine service aces and 13 more kills than PSU.
    MWSU took the first set with a loss of 25-17 and then won with the same score in the second match, as well as beating Pitt State 25-20 in the third set.
    For the Gorillas, sophomore Madison Mosier had 11 kills and one ace while freshman Ary Crittleton had nine kills and two blocks.
    Junior Haylee Gregory recorded five kills and one block while senior Ashley Bell had four kills and one block.
    Missouri Western took a 14-10 lead in the first set.
    The two teams were tied in kills, each with nine. The Griffons then strengthened the lead with three more points when a kill by Bell made the score 17-11. The Gorillas managed to cut the deficit to 20-15, but were unable to completely close the gap.
    In the second set Pitt State worked to fight back from an early 12-6 deficit and managed to close the score to 15-12 after a kill by Mosier. However, a kill by Jordan Chohon of Missouri Western sent the Griffons on a 4-0 run.
    In the third and final set, the Gorillas took a 6-2 lead with two attack errors and a kill by Mosier, along with a service ace. PSU spent the remainder of the set in the rearview mirror but managed to close the gap to 19-17 after a late 6-0 run.
    The defeat on Saturday was not the first of the weekend for the Gorillas.
    On Friday, Oct. 3, Pitt State lost in three sets to Northwest Missouri State in Maryville, Mo.
    The Bearcats won the first set 27-25, the second 25-21 and the third 25-21.
    The Gorillas hit a .170 attack percentage while NMSU was under .300. PSU put up 39 kills and 20 errors but allowed 49 kills and 16 errors.
    Northwest also beat Pitt State in blocks with nine to PSU’s six.
    Mosier had 12 kills and one block while senior Paula Okrutna had 10 kills and two blocks.
    Bell had six kills and one block while Gregory had three kills and three blocks.
    The Gorillas’ record is now 5-11.
    Pitt State will next face Washburn on Friday, Oct. 10, at John Lance Arena and on Saturday, Oct. 11, the Gorillas and Emporia State Hornets will face off.

  • Back in the game

    Offense recovers in 23-13 win

    | Michael Bauer sports editor |

    Pitt State’s offense scored two first-quarter touchdowns while the defense held the Missouri Western State Griffons scoreless in the second half in a 23-13 win on Saturday, Oct. 4, in St. Joseph, Mo.
    Pittsburg State’s offense, which last week was limited to only six points against Fort Hays State, took only six minutes to set things straight with senior quarterback Anthony Abenoja connecting with junior running back Jamal Tyler for a 15-yard touchdown early in the game. Four minutes later, Abenoja scored off a 5-yard run and senior kicker Connor Frazell’s leg did the rest of the work for the Gorillas with three field goals.

    Safety Deron Washington holds the line against the Missouri Western State Griffons during the away game on Saturday, Oct. 4, in St. Joseph, Mo

    Safety Deron Washington holds the line against the Missouri Western State Griffons during the away game on Saturday, Oct. 4, in St. Joseph, Mo


    “He (Frazell) is very consistent,” head coach Tim Beck said in his post-game interview with KKOW. “We trust that guy. He is a nice player and it’s not easy doing that, but he had a nice night.”
    The Griffons responded with a field goal of 34 yards in the first quarter to make it 14-3 before a 3-yard touchdown pass to Stephon Weaver cut the gap to four points. Frazell’s 25-yard kick with 3:04 before halftime made it 17-10 and the Griffons were limited to only one for field goal in the closing minutes of the half before PSU’s defense denied Missouri Western in the second half.
    “I really thought early on in the first half, maybe our front guys were a little stagnant,” Beck said. “I thought in the second half, they really turned it on. I think our coaches did a nice job and really got their motor running a little bit more.”
    The Gorilla defense made life easy for Abenoja after senior linebacker Tyler Disney tipped a Skyler Windmiller pass and senior safety Isaac Maselera intercepted it at the Western 37-yard line, leading to the Gorillas’ opening score. “We got off to a really good start and got that 14-0 lead,” Beck said. “I felt like Missouri Western was really flat and it just almost looked like we relaxed a little bit. We were playing hard, we just kind of let them back into it.”
    Disney did leave the game with a knee injury in the second quarter and the Gorillas were without junior running back Jeff Seybold Jr., who was still out from last week’s injury. Senior left tackle Vincent Brown was also lost due to a high ankle sprain injury. Seybold and Brown are on week-to-week status.
    “Jeff is one of our captains and one of our leaders,” Beck said. “So it hurts to not have him, but our guys played hard for the guys that were out.”
    Frazell’s field goals of 25 yards in the third quarter and 34 yards in the fourth were enough for the Gorillas to build a 10-point lead.
    PSU garnered 134 yards of net rushing while Abenoja went 15 of 25 for 183 yards and one touchdown.
    Junior running back Brian Poston had 11 carries for 43 yards while sophomore running back Dre Holman had 12 carries for 39 yards.
    Junior wide receiver Marquise Cushon had seven catches for 111 yards while Tyler had four receptions for 56 yards.
    The Griffons had only 78 net yards of rushing and Windmiller went 12 of 27 for 114 yards and was sacked four times. Brandynn Clark needed only one catch for 40 yards to lead the Griffons in reception yards while Josh Walker had four receptions for 24 yards and a touchdown.
    Spencer, who was the second-leading rusher in the MIAA conference, was held to only 89 yards on 17 attempts.
    With the win, the Gorillas improve to 4-1 while the Griffons fall to 4-2.
    This week, the Gorillas will take on the Emporia State Hornets on homecoming at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, at Carnie Smith Stadium.
    The Hornets, who enter this week’s contest with a 3-2 record, were picked to finish third in the MIAA preseason polls but have appeared to not meet expectations. After beating Missouri Southern State 53-28 in their first game, the Hornets were tripped up by Central Missouri 50-31 before losing by 10 at home to Central Oklahoma. The Hornets escaped humiliation with a 42-35 overtime victory against winless Northeastern State and are coming off a 37-22 win over Lindenwood.
    Emporia State’s offense is second in the MIAA with an average of 439.5 yards per game while Pittsburg State is fourth.
    Defensively, though, the Hornets are ranked dead last with 2,623 yards allowed and 24 touchdowns while the Gorilla defense sits at second with 991 yards. Pittsburg State leads the conference in scoring defense with only 27 points allowed and two shutouts.
    The Gorillas have allowed only 601 yards of passing (second fewest in the conference) and the Hornets (led by quarterback Brent Wilson) are the leading passing squad in the MIAA with 159 completions for 1,768 yards and 17 touchdowns.
    Antonio Brown leads the Hornets in rushing with 369 yards of 84 carries and Austin Willis has 29 catches for 545 yards and six touchdowns.

  • Retribution

    Volleyball beats FHSU in five sets

    | Michael Bauer sports editor |

    The Pittsburg State volleyball team ended a tumultuous week snatching a victory over the Fort Hays State Tigers in five sets at John Lance Arena on Saturday, Sept. 27.
    The game was the third consecutive five-set match for the Gorillas and the ninth of the season.
    Pitt State entered Saturday night’s contest coming off a four-game losing streak with losses to Lindenwood, Central Missouri, Missouri Southern and Nebrask-Kearney.

    Middle blocker Ary Crittleton spikes the volleyball at Saturdays game against Fort Hayes State Sept. 27.

    Middle blocker Ary Crittleton spikes the volleyball at Saturdays game against Fort Hayes State Sept. 27.


    But the past was clearly put behind.
    The Tigers took the first set 25-22 before the Gorillas won the next two sets in scores of 25-18 and 25-20. the Fort Hays won the fourth set, sending the two teams into another five-set face off, which left Pitt State victorious.
    The Gorillas had a .255 for the match and hit at above a .300 clip in four of the five sets. Pitt State out-blocked Fort Hays 10 to eight while putting up 10 more digs and 11 more kills in the night.
    Both teams kept things close and the tension high during the first set before the Tigers finally pulled a 24-18 lead after a kill by Mallory Elagor. A kill by sophomore Madi Mosier put the Gorillas on a 4-0 scoring run to make it 24-22, but a second kill by Elagor ended the first set in favor of Fort Hays.
    Senior Paula Okrutna and Mosier both had more than 20 kills for PSU along with a total of four blocks.
    Mosier tallied a double-double and finished the night with 16 digs while junior Hayley Hansford matched Mosier with her own double-double, 63 assists and 13 digs.
    However, it was sophomore Ashlen Schwartz who led the Gorillas in digs with 21.
    Freshman Ary Crittleton finished the night with 17 kills and senior Aimee Wood and sophomore Taylor Wright each finished with 11 kills.
    The Gorillas went on a 9-3 run in the second set and took advantage of three consecutive attacking errors by the Tigers for the win.
    An attacking error by Tiger Taylor Mares followed by a kill by Hansford gave the Gorillas the 25-20 win in the third set.
    Fort Hays State went on a 6-2 run late in the fourth set for a five-point win.
    In the fifth set, the Gorillas trailed early 5-2 after a kill by Mares before a kill by junior Haylee Gregory got PSU off to a 6-0 run to take an 8-5 lead. Pitt State would stay in front for the rest of the set to win its fifth set.
    Pittsburg State will next face Northwest Missouri State in a road contest on Friday, Oct. 3, in Maryville, Mo., before facing Missouri Western on Saturday, Oct. 4, in St. Joseph, Mo.

  • Former All-American returns to PSU

    | Michael Bauer sports editor |

    To anyone in Pitt State’s athletic department, it comes as no surprise how humble John Brown can be.
    The soft-spoken, former Pittsburg State All-American wide receiver hasn’t let the National Football League change him.
    On Saturday, Sept. 27, Brown, who was drafted in the third round by the Arizona Cardinals in May’s NFL Draft, made a return visit to Pittsburg State during the Gorillas’ home game against Fort Hays State. It may have been Family Day for the university, but for Brown it was a homecoming.
    Brown, who graduated last year, was welcomed back to a chorus of cheers from the Pitt State crowd and led the team onto the field.
    “It felt great to be back,” Brown said. “It makes me miss it a lot and it was a great feeling to be back on Family Day.”
    Since Brown’s signing with the Cardinals, the city of Pittsburg has made a religion of following Brown.

    John Brown, PSU alum and Cardinals NFL player, leads the team onto the field before the game on Saturday, Sept. 27. The gorillas lost 6-7.

    John Brown, PSU alum and Cardinals NFL player, leads the team onto the field before the game on Saturday, Sept. 27. The gorillas lost 6-7.


    PSU coaches and players keep track of Brown’s progress in the NFL while fans at Chatters can watch every Arizona Cardinals game live.
    During his PSU days, Brown was a three-time All-American who was a key part in PSU’s historic 2011 national championship team and in 2013, broke the school record in receiving yards, a record that was previously held by former Gorilla and Harlon Hill Trophy winner Ronnie West.
    So far this season, Brown has played in all three NFL games for the Cardinals, compiling 109 yards receiving from nine receptions and three touchdowns. His first touchdown came in the Cardinals’ Monday Night Football game against the San Diego Chargers.
    On Monday, Sept. 8, Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer spotted Brown off a play action fake and connected with him on a 13-yard pass with 2:32 left in the game to give the Cardinals the come-from -behind win.
    “It was a good feeling to be able to put my team back up,” Brown said. “I give credit to those guys on the line. They had great blocks out there. It was just a good feeling to get the game-winning touchdown.”
    Brown only finished the game with two catches for 29 yards, but his second reception propeled the Cardinals into a 3-0 record so far this season.
    Brown’s other two touchdowns this season came off of passes of 24 and 21 yards, respectively, in the Cardinals’ 23-14 win over the San Francisco 49ers. Just like San Diego, his two touchdowns helped the Cardinals come from behind in the second half after Arizona faced a 14-6 halftime deficit.
    Brown says it doesn’t matter where he’s playing at.
    “It’s still football at the end of the day.” he said. “It’s still the same thing, minus the school work.”
    But like school, Brown’s typical day starts by waking up at 7 a.m. and heading off to a nine-hour practice.
    “You meet all day so I’m basically in the office from eight to five just trying to get better and to learn,” Brown said.
    Brown says there has been little to no shock for him of what he has been able to accomplish in his young professional career.
    “I’m not surprised because being around those great guys and future Hall of Fame players makes my job easier,” Brown said.
    Nor did he have any doubts about his chances at getting drafted.
    “I wasn’t worried at all because I did what I had to do and I knew someone would give me a chance,” Brown said.
    At 5’10” and 179 pounds, Brown may not be the biggest wide receiver, but what he lacks in height, he makes up for in speed with his quickness and versatility. At Pitt State, he was not only a wide receiver but also the return man on kick offs and punts.
    Tim Beck, PSU head coach, says Brown has performed “extremely well, like we thought he would do.”
    Regardless of what the future may hold, Brown seems to have remained the same.
    “He is a natural,” Beck added. “His moves are very smooth and he is confident in his ability. He has already proved he belongs there.”

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