On Oct. 17, PSU Alumni and Constituent Relations presented a virtual watch party for the 1991 and 2011 football seasons that resulted in both National Championships for the Gorillas.
“Just like everybody else, we were just frustrated about the fact we couldn’t have a homecoming or a football games along the lines of people were used to having,” said Jon Bartlow, director of alumni relations. “Someone mentioned we had highlights of the championship season and we could digitize those and put them out there so we could share with the community.”
Both seasons brought a lot of Gorilla pride to the community and according to Bartlow, that is something you can’t find everywhere.
“There was this great deal of buzz around the campus and community, it was a pretty big deal,” Bartlow said.
The 1991 season highlights started at 1 p.m. showing Jacksonville State University’s struggle with the solid Gorilla Football game plays in Florence, Ala. Head coach Chuck Broyles lead the Gorillas to complete a 13-1-1 season under his second year in charge. The Gorillas built a 13-6 halftime advantage, pulling ahead in the final seconds of the second quarter then pulling away with 10 more unanswered points in the second half leading to a 23-6 win for the Gorillas. After a 2-1-1 season start, PSU won its final 11 games of the 1991 season to carry home the national crown. After entering the conference and NCAA Division-II in 1989, the Gorillas captured their third straight MIAA crown.
The 1991 National Championship was the first of now four football national titles captured by an MIAA school. In NCAA Division-II history, Pittsburg State has won more games than any other program. It has won four national championships (1957, 1961, 1991 and 2011), and 27 conference championships including 13 conference titles under former head coach Chuck Broyles in 20 seasons.
At 2 p.m, the 2011 season highlights begun. On that year the Gorillas won their second NCAA Division-II Football Championship over Wayne State University 35-21. The team was headed by coach Tim Beck who lead the Gorillas to the National Championship with a 13-1 record. By beating Washburn University, 31-22, in the second round of the NCAA playoffs, the Gorillas avenged their only defeat of the season.
Sophomore linebacker Nate Dreiling was selected the MIAA Defensive Player of the Year and was effectively an All-America first-team consensus selection. In 2011, seven other Gorillas received All-America honors, including sophomore wide receiver John Brown (now a member of the Buffalo Bills), who was an All-MIAA first-team pick as both a receiver and a return specialist.
“A win for the University is a win for this community and city and I think that’s how everybody felt,” said Bartlow, “Just really a fun time to be in college and a fun time to be here in the community.”
The virtual watch party was a wrap up for the homecoming week broadcasted at pittstate.tv gathering around 250 viewers.