Curtis Meyer reporter
Pittsburg squeezes out a win at Emporia State, in a game that featured 6 fourth down conversions total. This was the 100th meeting of these two teams.
“You play championship football, and you gotta find ways to win football games, and we found a way to win that one,” said head coach Brian Wright.
Running back Caleb Lewis led the way, with his second straight game over 100 yards rushing. In comparison, Emporia only had 65 rushing yards total, with 32 of those yards coming from quarterback scrambles.
The Gorilla defense forced a quick three and out, and Emporia elected to punt. Pittsburg got the ball on their 28-yard line, and on the second play, Lewis broke through for a 55 yard rushing gain.
After Lewis converted the first of many 4th downs, Dodson found wide receiver Bryce Murphy for the 4-yard touchdown pass.
Five minutes into the game, Pitt State was up 7-0. Emporia’s next drive featured only one run, and only one first down. They punted back to Pittsburg.
The Gorillas proceeded down the field, in a drive with another fourth down conversion, when they were eventually stopped. The field goal kick was no good to the right, turning the ball over on downs.
Emporia did not waste their chance, driving down the field as the second quarter started. With a 16-yard touchdown pass, and 3 PSU penalties, Emporia tied it at 7.
The Gorilla offense was unable to get anything going and was forced to punt. Emporia made it down the field, thanks to two pass interference calls on Pitt State, and got the lead with a 25-yard pass just barely caught in the back of the end zone.
Emporia missed the extra point, making it 13-7 with 7:54 remaining in the half. Pittsburg on the ensuing drive went down to the red zone, but an interception thrown by quarterback Chad Dodson in the end zone gave the ball back to Emporia.
Emporia converted a fourth and two to set them up on Pittsburg’s 27-yard line. On the next play, cornerback Antione Nunn jumped in front of Emporia’s throw to snag an interception for PSU.
With just a 1:40, Pitt State could not do anything offensively and punted. Emporia kneeled to end the half, up 13-7.
Pittsburg took the kickoff to start the second half and had a good drive to within field goal range. A penalty on Emporia led to a conversion however, which Pittsburg capitalized on a few plays later with a 1-yard touchdown run by Lewis.
Now with a 14-13 lead, both team’s defenses took over, neither allowing another score all game. Emporia’s next drive landed them in field goal range as well, but they missed the attempt, giving the ball back to Pittsburg.
On the Gorillas’ next drive Dodson was intercepted for the second time, giving Emporia another chance. The Pittsburg defense was up to the task yet again, forcing a three and out and giving the offense the ball again.
Pittsburg used up 4 minutes of clock, taking the game into the final quarter. After converting a fourth and five, they were stuck in a fourth and four the next set of downs. Unable to convert, the ball was given back to Emporia for what would be their final drive of the game.
Emporia made it all the way to the red zone, before attempting a second field goal. This one was also no good, giving Pittsburg the ball with 8:01 left in the game.
Pittsburg ran the ball down the field, keeping the clock moving and converting a fourth and one and a fourth and two on the same drive. With just a minute left, Dodson kneeled 3 times to secure the victory.
“We’ve got to be able to run the football on offense anyway, but we certainly liked to do it against that team to keep their offense off the field.” Wright said, during the postgame press conference.
Pittsburg will face the Missouri Southern Lions next week at home.