In the previous matchup for the Pittsburg State football team on Saturday, Nov. 2, the Gorillas fell short against the Missouri Western State Griffons 35-21.
“I think our kids played hard,” head coach Tim Beck said. “I told our kids after the game I have failed them; I feel bad that we are in this situation. You look back at the beginning of the season, we got off to a great start. UCO is a very talented team and it’s one of those things where it’s hard. Division II you have to have those 10-1/9-2 seasons and when you get three losses on your schedule then all of a sudden, it’s hard to get your kids motivated where they need to be. We are a better football team then what we showed today (Saturday, Nov. 2).”
Suffering four straight defeats, the Gorillas playoff chances become close to nonexistent while the team sits tied for fifth in the conference with an overall league record of 5-4.
“It’s just, we play for each other and if you ask every single one of these guys, we love each other and we put in the work 365 days out of the year,” said senior wide receiver Brenner Clemmons. “We get 11 opportunities to go out there and play the game we love so there is no motivation for us we are playing for each other every single time. We don’t need to find any external sources; we just want to play for each other and that’s our whole mindset.”
On Saturday, Nov. 9, Pitt State will return to action when the Gorillas travel to Topeka to face MIAA rival Washburn University.
Last season against the Ichabods (Nov. 3), Washburn reigned supreme defeating the Gorillas 40-23. Washburn outscored the Gorillas 23-6 in the second half to capture the victory. All-time against the Ichabods, Pitt State has historically dominated holding a 63-25 record including 30 victories in the last 38 meetings.
This season, the Ichabods have struggled as the team sits at sixth in the conference with an overall record of 4-5 together with a home record of 1-3. In the previous matchup for Washburn, Nov. 2, the Ichabods prevailed over Emporia State (2-7) 37-17.
On the offensive side of the ball, Washburn averages the sixth-most points per game in the conference averaging 36.4. The pro-style offense also averages 415.4 yards per game, 180.0 from the running game and 235.4 in the passing game.
“They have a good pro-style offense, their quarterback is a really good player, coaches’ kid,” said Nate Dreiling, PSU Defensive Coordinator for the Gorillas. “They have a receiver for them, a Kansas City kid, who is doing a really good job. So, we’ll have our hands full on defense and hopefully, we can slow them down a little bit.”
The offense is led by Washburn’s pair of sophomore wide receivers, James Letcher Jr. and Collin Wilson. Letcher Jr. averages 65.22 yards per game and 11.74 yards per catch on 50 receptions for 587 yards through nine games. Wilson averages 44.67 yards per game and 13.40 yards per catch through nine games on 30 receptions for 402 yards. The two sophomores have caught six touchdowns each this season, respectively.
Throwing to the two receivers is junior quarterback Mitch Schurig. Through eight games, Schurig sits at sixth in the conference in total touchdowns completing 16 this season. The junior quarterback has completed 63.60% of passes thrown (145-228) for 1699 yards which ranks Schurig at fifth for most total yardage.
For the defense, the Ichabods have allowed opponents to 30.89 points per game and 394.7 total yards of offense (5.5 yards per play). Breaking it down, Washburn allows 177.3 rushing and 217.33 passing yards per game.
The defense of the Ichabods is led by their duo of linebackers, sophomore Grant Bruner and junior Jacob Anderson. Bruner leads the team in total tackles this season accumulating 60 with 22 solos and 38 assisted through nine games. Anderson has been able to get to the quarterback this season as the junior has racked up 3.5 sacks for 21 yards. The junior linebacker also ranks second on the team in tackles for loss collecting 6.5 for 34 TFL yards.
Pitt State looks to knock off their cold spell against Washburn on Saturday, Nov. 9 with kickoff at 1 p.m. in Yager Stadium.