Curtis Meyer, Reporter
Pitt State came out to play Saturday night against Northeastern State University, scoring touchdowns on all three sides of the ball. Led by quarterback Chad Dodson throwing 151 yard and 2 TDs, combined with touchdowns on special teams and defense, the Gorillas took the lead early on.
After just the second play on the first drive, linebacker Dubem Okonkwo put pressure on the Riverhawk’s quarterback, resulting in an errant throw which cornerback Antione Nunn intercepted and returned for the 26-yard touchdown.
“We were prepared for it, we knew they were going to show us some different things, so we were pretty prepared for it,” Nunn said.
After the kickoff, the Gorilla defense forced a quick three and out when linebacker P.J. Sarwinski made the tackle on third. The Riverhawks elected to punt, but tight end Kaizer Newell managed to get his left arm up to block the punt, and it landed right in front of him. Newell scooped it up and got into the end zone, making it 14-0 with 3 minutes expired and without the offense having to touch the ball.
“I knew right before the play I’m supposed to go get it, I’m the only one. I knew that him being a left footed kicker he would roll off to his left a little bit, so I just tried to slip around the backers a little bit, and somehow, I got through there and hit it and picked it up and scored,” Newell said.
After a couple of punts from both teams, the Riverhawks scored on an 11 play, 69-yard drive. Pitt immediately answered on the next drive, with Dodson finding tight end Dallas Bond for a 7-yard TD pass.
Northeast pulled out a play from their bag of tricks on the next drive, which resulted in wide receiver Malik Antwine throwing the ball for a 46-yard pass to fellow wide receiver Dashawn Williams.
On the Gorilla’s next drive, they took it down for another touchdown, this time with running back Lewis on a one-yard run. After a couple of punts, the offense found the end-zone for the second time in the same quarter, this time a jet sweep handoff from Dodson to wide receiver Christian Carter.
With that leaving only 3:01 before half, the Gorillas still weren’t done. With cornerback Jaylen Fuksa breaking up a pass on second and third down, the Riverhawks punted again.
Pitt State’s offense drove down the field and scored a 5-yard pass from Dodson to tight end Lawrence Harris Jr. Pitt had a 42 to 14 lead at half, scoring 21 points in both quarters.
Coming out of halftime, Pittsburg got the ball. Unable to do anything with it for most of the half, the defense kept the lead. With 4:32 on the clock in the third wide receiver Jamal Horne had a 4-yard rushing touchdown similar to Carter’s previous play in the second.
Pittsburg had a combined 232 rushing yards.
“It felt good, we started off the season a little shaky, but we got it picking up throughout the season, so hopefully we can keep it pushing and have some great games ahead,” said running back Caleb Lewis. Lewis rushed for 153 yards, a career-high.
This proved to be the last score of the game, as the defense posted a second half shutout, and back up quarterback Darius Bowers came in to finish off Pittsburg’s last two offensive drives. Pittsburg finished with 49 points.
“We made a big point this week that we needed a fast start, coming off of a big road win the week before and wanted to make sure that we set the tone early here. We’re going to play up to the standard regardless of what the teams record was,” said head coach Brian Wright.
Next week Pittsburg will travel to Emporia, who are 2-1 after beating Western Missouri this week.