Pitt State football routed the MSSU Lions by a score of 41-0 Saturday in Joplin.
The win moves the Gorillas to a final record of 8-3 on the year, but just outside of the playoff race.
“We had some really quality wins over some good teams in our conference which was a strong case for Pitt State to get in,” head football coach Tim Beck said. “But there’s a committee of eight people, four coaches, four administrators on the regional advisory committee and a lot of people agreed with the wins we had but the loss to a below .500 team (Washburn) ended up hurting us.”
The loss to Washburn was still fresh in the minds of the coaches and players as this final win had no real value without an invitation to the playoffs afterwards.
“It was a tough loss against Washburn, and as coaches, you’re always concerned about how you’re going to bounce back from something like that,” Beck said. “I felt like we were concerned going in but our intensity from the beginning was pretty good and it was kind of a business-like feel I guess that we just kind of took care of business as we went, but I felt like our kids played hard and did what they needed to do to get the win.”
The win in the annual Miner’s Bowl contest, named after the area’s rich mining history, moved the all-time series with Missouri Southern to 41-9-1 in favor of the Gorillas in a series that has been played since 1968.
Senior quarterback John Roderique started his final game and would complete seven of eight passes for 182 yards and one long 73-yard touchdown pass. That pass was part of sophomore wide receiver Brenner Clemons’ best game of the year with 104 yards on four catches.
On the ground, the Gorillas looked as dominant as they have all season, with three backs splitting up the bulk of the work. Sophomore Tucker Horak racked up 81 yards on 11 carries, junior Keynan Scheurich picked up 80 yards on his 11 carries, and finally sophomore Tyler Adkins gained 77 yards on 20 carries with each contributing a touchdown to the cause.
The Pitt State defense was also exceptional in the win, pitching their first shutout since 2014.
“Defense did a good job and like I said, Missouri Southern took a shot first play of the game and we were able to intercept it and that got us off to a great start,” Beck said. “Then, they ran the ball effectively at times but to go into ahead at halftime like we felt like we did a pretty good job to get the game started.”
Senior linebacker and part time punter Carter Anchors played his best game at Pitt State.
“Carter had a great day, Darian Taylor was injured so he wasn’t able to play and Carter stepped in and made a lot of nice plays for us,” Beck said. “Carter is a very fast player and we’re really going to miss him. He’s been a great special teams player and he got a chance to show how good of a defensive player he is as well.”
Despite the strong 8-3 season, Pitt State will not be playing in any post-season games this year. Due to Pitt State’s potential to play in the Division-II football playoffs, they were unable to accept bowl offers until the team knew they were not in the playoffs. By that point, it was too late as the Texarkana Bowl, which had contacted Pitt State, decided to select Missouri Western rather than wait for Pittsburg State to to accept the offer.