The Gorillas look to keep the momentum rolling as they take their 3-0 record on the road this weekend to face the Lopers of Nebraska-Kearney.
“Our coaches and our players look forward to trips like this, there’s something really cool about getting our guys and taking a bus going on a trip,” Head Coach Tim Beck said on the “Tim Beck Show” on KODE-TV. “It’s one of those things where you tell your players ‘hey we’ve traveled all this way we might as well go out and play well.’”
The Lopers have had an up and down season so far. Picked ninth in the MIAA Preseason Media Poll, the Lopers won their opener 39-27 over Southern, but fell 23-28 to Central Oklahoma the following week. Kearney rebounded last week with a 31-21 win at Emporia.
The Gorillas are undefeated in their last five matchups with the Lopers. Pitt took advantage of a 16-point first quarter in their last meeting to win 30-17 last September at Carnie Smith Stadium.
Senior quarterback Alex McGinnis directs the NKU offense. The 6-3 senior has completed 27 of 45 passes for 482 yards and four touchdowns in three games this season for the Lopers.
Senior wide receiver Sedarius Young has been McGinnis’ target. Young has caught four passes 160 yards averaging 40 yards per catch. Fifth year running back Luke Quinn has played a major role on the receiving end as well catching four passes for 85 yards, averaging 21.2 yards-per-carry and a touchdown.
Senior running back David Goodwin leads the rushing attack for the Lopers with 28 carries for 248 yards, averaging 8.5 yards per carry and a touchdown while freshman quarterback TJ Davis leads the team in total rushing touchdowns with three.
Nebraska-Kearney runs a similar offense as the Gorillas with their option attack rotating in multiple quarterbacks throughout the game.
“They have really good athletes, really fast players and they really make you play disciplined football,” said PSU Defensive Coordinator Nate Dreiling. “We need to make sure our kids are playing hard, running to the football and playing assignment football. It doesn’t matter who you are playing you can always get better at something and that usually starts with discipline.”
The Lopers face a Pittsburg State offense averaging 215 yards rushing and 213 passing over their first three games. On the defensive side, the Lopers struggle in their secondary allowing 237.3 yards passing per game giving up 712 yards total in passing through three games. Kearney boasts a solid defensive front allowing 105.0 rushing yards per game, 3.4 yards per rush.
The different quarterbacking styles of redshirt freshman Mak Sexton and sophomore Brandon Mlekus could give the Lopers’ defense fits. Sexton leads PSU with 430 yards and two passing touchdowns out of the spread, while Mlekus leads the option attack throwing for 147 yards and two touchdowns while rushing 34 times for 141 yards.
Junior running back Tucker Horak has provided a spark for the Gorillas offense with five touchdowns to lead the MIAA. Junior running back Tyler Adkins leads the Gorillas in rushing yards through three games this season, 184 yards, averaging 58 yards per contest.
Head coach Tim Beck captured his 79th win following the win over the Riverhawks bringing his record to 79-30 in his 10th season with the Gorillas. In a recent DII AFCA Coaches Poll, the Gorillas are tied for 18th alongside MIAA foe Central Missouri. Kickoff is set for Sept. 28, at 7pm at Nebraska-Kearney’s Cope Stadium.