Curtis Meyer reporter
The Gorillas 20 game regular season winning streak came to an end on Saturday, on the road against the Missouri Western Griffons. Losing a tight game 31-30, Pitt State had the chance to tie it but missed the extra point. Junior quarterback Chad Dodson was hurt on the Gorillas final drive, putting the final nail in the coffin for the Gorillas.
With the major upset by the Griffons, Pitt State took a major hit in the American Football Coaches Association, dropping from number 2 overall all the way down to number 8, a spot behind Central Missouri, who the Gorillas defeated earlier this season.
It was a disappointing loss for the Gorillas, and undoubtedly hurt their chances at keeping the top seed in the playoffs, and at winning the MIAA championship this year. Central Missouri is 9-1 this season, having played one more conference game than Pitt State this year, putting them above the Gorillas in the rankings this season despite their only loss coming at the hands of Pitt State.
With Central Missouri facing hapless Lincoln this Saturday, it seems unlikely that Pitt State will be able to claim the MIAA title this year. All the Gorillas can do now is focus on Saturday’s game and take care of business as they prepare to face Central Oklahoma.
Pitt State comes into this game in a must win situation, as another loss could put them outside of the playoff bracket this year. The Central Oklahoma Bronchos sit at just 5-5 this year, sitting about average in about every category.
Currently eighth out of twelve in the MIAA on offense and defense, the Bronchos really do not have much of an identity on either side of the ball going into Saturday’s game. The rushing attack has been strong for the Bronchos, but their passing has been lacking just as much.
On defense, Central Oklahoma still sits about average, good for fourth in the MIAA against the run but just seventh against the pass. It is hard to find a category where Central Oklahoma stands out, and that has been indicative of their record this whole season.
Despite this, they are certainly a step above teams like Washburn or Lincoln this season, and the Gorillas will need to regain their momentum as they prepare for the post season. The current Gorilla squad has not really tasted defeat, so it will be interesting to see how they react in their first game following one in an exceedingly long time.
It will take nothing short of a miracle for Lincoln to beat Central Oklahoma, all but putting the Gorillas out of the conversation for the MIAA title this season. While that cannot be helped, a deep playoff run would undoubtedly go a long way in saving the disappointing end to the season.
Pitt State will hold onto the number three ranking in the Super Region three, with Harding at one and Grand Valley sitting at two. Central Missouri moves up to four as this week will hold a lot of implications for seeding. Pitt State may not be able to afford to lose another one, making this week their most important of the season.