Curtis Meyer reporter
Pitt State football traveled to the University of Central Oklahoma, taking on the now 5-4 Bronchos during their homecoming weekend and defeated them 38-7.
With this win the Gorillas are now 9-0 and are guaranteed the top spot in the MIAA conference, with the next three teams all being tied at 6-2 as of now. Of course, this doesn’t mean the season stops. There are still two weeks left, and then the playoffs start.
The Gorillas were off to a rough start at Central Oklahoma, losing the toss. Oklahoma deferred and Pitt State was unable to generate anything, going three and out. After a 33-yard punt, Oklahoma started their first drive, converting one set of downs but punting shortly.
Pitt State immediately began attacking, with quarterback Chad Dodson finding his receivers to move the chains on key downs. The drive ultimately ended with a 24-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Christian Carter on a 3rd and 2, who caught the ball despite being in double coverage.
Already 7 minutes into the first quarter, the Bronchos were forced backwards after a penalty took away a first down play. Pitt State’s defense was able to make tackles short of the line to gain, forcing the first of many three and outs.
Driving down the field, the Gorillas were forced in an awkward position when they faced a 4th and 7 too far away to kick the field goal but too close to punt and were unable to convert. This seemingly gave Central Oklahoma some momentum early in the second quarter, but they were forced to a 4th and 1, and linemen Luke Jennings and Cole Sample teamed up to stop the run short of the first down.
This gave the Gorilla offense the ball on the Central Oklahoma 42. On a third and 1, running back Caleb Lewis broke through for the 33-yard rushing touchdown, extending the Gorilla’s led to 14-0. Central Oklahoma was set to fight their way back in, but safety Adam Smith forced a fumble, which linebacker P.J. Sarwinski recovered at the Pitt State 40.
Not wasting another turnover, the Gorilla offense drove down the field, before Lewis ran it in again, this time from 14 yards out.
On the ensuing drive, Central Oklahoma was forced to another three out after linemen Dubem Okonkwo and Zeke Wall sacked the Broncho’s quarterback Stephon Brown.
Pitt State was then forced to a three and out, but the defense kept up the pressure on the Bronchos’ next drive, with Okonkwo recording another sack on third down, forcing a punt from the Central Oklahoma 1-yard line. After a foul on the Bronchos following the punt, Pitt State was unable to get going, but kicker Cross Holmes made a 34-yard field goal attempt to increase the lead.
Central Oklahoma finally got going with just 2:11 left in the half. Driving down the field, the Bronchos were set up with 8 seconds left and no timeouts on the PSU 2-yard line. Attempting a pass play, the defense put pressure on Central Oklahoma’s quarterback. Okonkwo took down the Broncho’s Brown, preserving the 24-0 lead.
“I thought our guys were flying around, stopping the run, really contained the quarterback,” said head coach Brian Wright.
Central Oklahoma got the second half kick-off but was unable to do anything on the opening drive. Pitt State was driving down the field, but an overthrown ball by Dodson was picked off by the Broncho defense.
Central Oklahoma was able to drive down the field again, but after another sack by Okonkwo they were forced to punt.
Pitt State then proceeded to control how Central Oklahoma played. With a 9-play drive that featured only running plays. Capped off with a 6-yard rushing touchdown by running back Cleo Chandler Jr, it gave the Gorillas a 31-0 lead.
The fourth quarter started much like the rest, with Central Oklahoma punting. After another drive of just running plays to keep the clock running, Pitt State punted.
Central Oklahoma’s next drive ended after cornerback Antione Nunn Jr. intercepted Brown and returned it 25 yards for a pick 6, putting the final nail in the coffin.
With the score now 38-0, both Central Oklahoma and Pitt State put in their backups to finish the game. After a couple of passing plays, Central Oklahoma was able to get into the end zone and prevent the shut out, but Pitt State then took the ball and ran it out to finish the game.
“Really proud of our football team, had a great week of preparation, I thought our guys worked hard and that really showed today. I thought we dominated in all three phases for the better part of that football game,” said Wright.
The Gorillas will play Washburn at Topeka next Saturday, who are 6-3 after defeating Northeastern State.