Curtis Meyer, Reporter
The Gorillas gathered a 25-point lead in the first half of their game against the winless Blue Tigers this Saturday and kept that momentum going to extend the lead and secure the win.
Pitt State won the toss and chose to defer, with the defense forcing a stop on 3rd and 1 to give the ball to the Pitt State offense for their first drive. Safety Brandon Mlekus took the 28-yard punt and returned it for 36, giving the Gorillas excellent field position.
Pittsburg’s drive featured 6 plays all runs, with running back Caleb Lewis taking it in from 15 yards out, making it 7-0 with just 9:26 left in the first.
The Gorilla defense forced Lincoln to a quick three and out on their next drive, giving the ball right back to the Pitt State offense. Lincoln held Pitt State at 4th and 2, and Lewis lost 2 yards on a tackle by Lincoln Linebacker Jaylon Mosely.
Despite this, the Pitt State offense held Lincoln to another quick 3 and out, thanks to a 9-yard sack by linemen Quentin Bunten. The offense was able to continue the momentum, with a 46-yard jet sweep by wide receiver Christian Carter, on the first play of the drive.
This set up the 9-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chad Dodson to Carter, making it 14-0 with just 1:16 left in the quarter.
Lincoln took over, keeping possession into the next quarter. Driving all the way down to the Pitt State nine, they looked poised to score, but defensive linemen Jack Barkley and Kyjuan Rodgers were there to stop the quarterback sneak on 4th and 1.
Just a few plays later Dodson found wide receiver Kolbe Katsis for the 68-yard TD reception off the fake handoff, making it 21 to nothing.
Lincoln finally put some points on the board with their next drive, taking it down and scoring a field goal from 27 yards out. This would be there only points of the half.
The Gorilla offense found success on the next drive as well, with Dodson connecting with tight end Devon Garrison for 33 yards and Carter for 39, setting up the 5-yard run by Lewis for his second touchdown of the afternoon.
Lincoln was forced to punt on their next possession, and Pitt State took the lead into halftime. Pitt State kept the pedal to the medal, with Cornerback Jaylen Fuksa taking the kickoff 89 yards, putting Pitt State’s offense on the Lincoln 10-yard line.
Running back Cleo Chandler Jr. punched it in from the one-yard line three plays later, with less than a minute having elapsed in the half. The defense kept the momentum going, forcing another punt.
At this point, the Pitt State coaching staff elected to put in quarterback Darius Bowers in, sticking with him for the remainder of the game.
Bowers started strong, flipping a pass out sideways to wider receiver Greyson Holbert on the run option, who then proceeded to turn it into a 46 yard gain, with Bowers taking it in himself a couple plays later.
For the rest of the third quarter, both teams punted back and forth, with a shared sack by linemen Quentin Bunten and Dubem Okonkwo, and an interception thrown by Bowers halfway in the third.
After the Pitt State defense forced a punt early in the final quarter, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Lincoln set up Pitt State with excellent field position. Bowers found Holbert for the 14 yard reception setting up the 2 yard rushing touchdown by running back Noah Hernadez a few plays later.
With the score now 49-3, Lincoln and Pitt State traded punts, until Lincoln started to find success late in the half. Converting a 4th and 4, Lincoln was able to drive down the field and score their first and only touchdown with just 30 seconds left on the clock. Pitt State was content to kneel to end the game.
Pitt State had a field day with the running game, with the combined rushing total 11 yards higher than the combined passing, not to mention the 5 rushing touchdowns.
Pitt State will look to continue their success next week at homecoming against Missouri Western. Western is 3-4 after defeating Northeastern at Tahlequah 23-16. Undoubtedly Pitt State looks to win on homecoming night and remain undefeated.