Pitt State football escaped in overtime with a 27-24 win on Saturday against the Lindenwood Lions.
The game was an exciting, back and forth contest with the lead changing hands six times.
Head football coach Tim Beck on the weekly “Tim Beck Show” was proud of the way his team fought throughout the ballgame.
“It was kind of an exciting game, there was a lot of things that went back and forth both directions, and I told our team today the biggest thing that we were most proud about that every time something happened, we found a way to answer,” Beck said. “We faced a lot of adversity at different times, and found ways to overcome it.”
The first major momentum swing of the game came early late in the first quarter with Pitt up 3-0 and driving towards another score. A tipped pass off the hands of sophomore Tyler Adkins was intercepted and returned for a Lions touchdown.
“Tough play because we just got a little pressure and Tyler got turned around a little bit and the ball goes off his hand and right into their hands and they’re linebacker Seers returned it all the way for a touchdown,” Beck said.
That pass was thrown by redshirt freshman backup quarterback BJ Bradbury who played the most in the game out of the three quarterbacks who saw action due to injuries.
“He (John Roderique) started the game out and wasn’t feeling great and we went to BJ and BJ had a really good game at times and was doing well, and then he kinda got banged up a little bit and then, we went to Matt Harman and Matt Harman got roughed up a little bit, and then back to John,” Beck said. “Everybody understands it’s next man up when someone has to go out for a play or two or however long it is the next man’s got to be ready to go.”
Pitt was able to recapture momentum going into the half with touchdowns on two of the final three drives of the half. The first coming with Pitt running the ball on all seven plays with Bradbury ending the drive on a short touchdown run. The following drive featured Bradbury’s arm in the two minute offense completing all four of his passes including a beautiful over the shoulder throw and catch of 33 yards to junior Lorenzo West for the score to put PSU up 17-14.
Both defenses dominated the third period to set the table for a wild fourth quarter. Lindenwood struck first with with a touchdown, and then, following freshman third string quarterback Matt Harman’s fumble, a field goal to go up 24-17.
John Roderique would return to the field on the following drive and answer with a thrilling 14-play touchdown drive. The drive was capped off with the now infamous “Philly Special” play from last year’s Super Bowl. The play consists of a snap to the running back, a reverse, and finally a throw to the quarterback.
“It’s something we’ve had for a couple weeks, we just hadn’t used it yet and felt like we’d used Tucker running the ball a few times and stole it from the super bowl last year,” Beck said. “It was good timing, I think Brenner could have run the ball in, but I just think he wanted to have a pass.”
That play knotted up the game at 24 all and sent things to overtime. In the overtime, Lindenwood started with the ball, but would go backwards against the Pitt defense and eventually missed a long field goal.
Pitt would follow that by moving the ball to the five yard line before trotting out sophomore kicker Jared Vincent to chip in the short game winning field goal.
The win propelled PSU up two spots in the NCAA Division-II Coaches’ Poll rankings to no. 8. The Gorillas are now undefeated at 5-0 sitting atop the MIAA conference standings.
Next weekend, the the one loss Northwest Missouri State Bearcats will visit the Jungle. The rivalry game will come with huge stakes this year as the winner will be in the driver’s seat to win the conference.