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Gorillas Host #1 Northwest Saturday

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The Pittsburg State Gorillas have been playing better football lately. The Gorillas have won back to back games, beating Missouri Western and Emporia State the last two weeks.

This Saturday, Pitt State will face undoubtedly the best opponent on their schedule.

The top ranked Northwest Missouri State Bearcats will be in town Saturday, trying to move to 9-0 on the year. Northwest enters the weekend with statistically the best defense in the MIAA, giving up an average of 7 points per game. No opponent has scored more than 20 points against the Bearcats this season.

Kickoff will be at 2 o'clock at Carnie Smith Stadium Saturday. With a win, the Gorillas would be back over .500 for the first time since mid-September.

RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

PITTSBURG — The Pittsburg State University football team will return to the friendly confines of Brandenburg Field/Carnie Smith Stadium Saturday (Oct. 28) for an MIAA match-up against No. 1 ranked Northwest Missouri State University. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. (CDT).

Pitt State enters Saturday's contest with a 4-4 record. The Gorillas became the first Division II team to reach 700 all-time victories with a 26-10 home win over Missouri Western State University on Oct. 14 and Pitt State followed that up with a 27-10 road win over Emporia State University last Saturday/Sunday.

Pitt State is just the 33rd team across all levels of NCAA football to reach 700 all-time wins.

NWMSU is 8-0 on the season and ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division II. The Bearcats have posted 38 consecutive victories including back-to-back national titles in 2015-16. NWMSU is coming off a 19-0 home win over Lindenwood University last Saturday (Oct. 21).

The Coaches
Tim Beck is in his eighth season as head coach at Pitt State. He has compiled a 64-27 (.703) career record.  

Beck led his alma mater (PSU, '88) to the 2011 NCAA Division II National Championship, earning national coach of the year honors from Liberty Mutual, the Don Hansen Football Committee and FieldTurf™.

Beck became the school's 14th all-time head football coach in December 2009, after serving for 23 seasons as an assistant coach for the Gorillas including 16 years as the team's offensive coordinator from 1994-2009.
In his first season leading the Gorillas, Beck guided Pitt State to a 6-6 record and a victory in the 2010 Mineral Water Bowl.  In 2011, Beck led the Gorillas to the program's second NCAA national championship and the school's fourth national title overall in a 13-1 campaign. Pitt State captured the MIAA Championship and ultimately the NCAA-II National Championship with a 35-21 victory over Wayne (Mich.) State on Dec. 17, 2011.

In 2012, the Gorillas opened the season 5-0 before finishing the year 7-3 overall, while in 2013 Pitt State posted the program's 20th all-time 10-win season during a 10-2 campaign.

In 2014, the Gorillas shared the MIAA regular season title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA-II playoffs during an 11-2 campaign.

In 2015, a young Pitt State team battled a rash of key injuries to frontline players and the Gorillas had to settle for an uncharacteristic 6-5 season. Last year, the Gorillas battled key injuries once again and Pitt State posted a 7-4 season.

During his 16 seasons as offensive coordinator, the Gorilla offense consistently ranked among the finest units in NCAA Division II.

In 2008, Beck was selected the inaugural NCAA Division II Coordinator of the Year by FootballScoop.com, following a vote of his coaching peers.

In 2004, Beck's offensive unit established itself as the most prolific squad in the history of NCAA football.  PSU shattered a 118-year-old scoring record, scoring an amazing 837 points (55.8 ppg).  His squad also set the NCAA all division records for rushing (5,320 yards) and total offense (8,976 yards).

Beck's teams led Division II in scoring in two of the last six years (2004, 2006) and ranked in the top two nationally in total offense three times in the last six seasons (2004, 2005, 2006).  His squads ranked among the national rushing leaders every season, leading Division II in 1995 (318.8 ypg) and 2004 (354.7 ypg).  Beck's "multiple choice" option attack also compiled 16,483 passing yards (216.9 ypg) and 143 aerial touchdowns during the last six years.

Pitt State averaged a staggering 38.8 points and 442.5 yards of total offense per game during his tenure as offensive coordinator.

Prior to assuming the offensive coordinator's role, Beck served two years as Pitt State's defensive coordinator (1992-93).  He became a full-time assistant on the Pitt State staff in 1989, after serving first as a student assistant (1987) and then as a graduate assistant (1988).

This will be Beck's ninth meeting vs. NWMSU. He is 3-5 vs. the Bearcats.

Rich Wright is in his first season directing the NWMSU after serving the previous six years as the Bearcats defensive coordinator.  Wright (Dana College, '95) joined the NWMSU coaching staff as defensive line coach and special teams coordinator in 2004. He has an 8-0-0 (1.000) career coaching record. This will be his first meeting vs. Pitt State.

The Pitt State-Northwest Missouri Series
This will be the 51st meeting between the Gorillas and the Bearcats in a series that dates all the way back to the 1932 season. Northwest holds a 26-24-0 advantage in the competitive series.  The Gorillas are 13-8-0 vs. the Bearcats in Pittsburg.

Last year, quarterback Kyle Zimmerman passed for six touchdowns and rushed for another score to lead No. 1 ranked Northwest Missouri to a 69-10 victory over Pittsburg State on Oct. 29.

The Bearcats posted their 24th consecutive win in defeating the Gorillas in front of 10,283 Homecoming fans at Bearcat Stadium.

Zimmerman completed 19 of 21 passes for 385 yards on the contest. Northwest added 171 rushing yards and compiled 564 yards of total offense in the contest.

Shane Williams caught three passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns, while Shawn Bayne, Jr. added two grabs for 106 yards and a score. Phil Jackson II led the Bearcats' ground gainers with 48 yards on five carries.
The Bearcats added a pair of defensive scores:  an interception that was returned and lateralled three times for a 94-yard touchdown on the final play of the first half, and a 59-yard interception return by Jack Richards with 1:07 to play in the game.

Michael Rose scored Pitt State's lone touchdown on a one-yard run with 3:13 to play in the third quarter. Chad Levin also booted a 21-yard field goal for the Gorillas.

John Roderique completed 16 of 33 passes for 195 yards. He was sacked once and intercepted two times. Thomas LePage also completed two of five passes for 48 yards with a pair of interceptions.


Gorillas at Home
Pitt State holds a 347-130-12 (.722) record in 489 games inside Carnie Smith Stadium (including postseason). The Gorillas have won 147 of their last 172 regular season home games, posting a 147-24-1 record (.858) over the last 34 seasons.

Northwest is 15-0 (1.000) in road games since the start of the 2015 season and the Bearcats are 40-6 (.870) on the road since the start of the 2010 season.

PSU's Regular Season Success
Pitt State has won 292 of its last 354 regular season games, posting a phenomenal 292-60-2 (.828) mark during the past 33 seasons (1985-2017). PSU is 156-24-1 at home, 132-27-1 on the road and 4-9-0 at neutral sites in the regular season during that span.

All-Time Winningest Programs
Pittsburg State is the all-time winningest NCAA Division II football program. The Gorillas, who are in their 110th season of intercollegiate competition, have compiled a 701-346-48 overall record, winning 66.2 percent of their 1,095 all-time games.

Pittsburg State is one of just five NCAA Division II institutions to have recorded 600 all-time victories and the Gorillas became just the 33rd program – the first Division II institution – across all levels of college football to reach the 700-win plateau (see graphic, page 2).

Tuskegee is second on the Division II all-time list with 683 victories, followed by Hillsdale (626), Carson-Newman (623) and Central Oklahoma (621).

NWMSU has a 576-394-32 (.591) record in 101 seasons of intercollegiate play.

Quick Strike Offense
The Pitt State offense has exhibited a penchant for being a "quick strike" unit. During the last 13 seasons (2005-17), the Pitt State offense has generated 821 scoring drives (680 TDs, 141 FGs) and averaged just 2:54 of elapsed time per drive.

2005    97 scoring drives (86 TDs, 11 FGs)   2:40 elapsed time         2012    51 scoring drives (40 TDs, 11 FGs)    2:58 elapsed time    
2006    79 scoring drives (72 TDs, 7 FGs)    2:14 elapsed time         2013    83 scoring drives (70 TDs, 13 FGs)    2:29 elapsed time
2007    64 scoring drives (55 TDs, 9 FGs)    3:02 elapsed time         2014    74 scoring drives (53 TDs, 21 FGs)    3:06 elapsed time
2008    69 scoring drives (61 TDs, 8 FGs)    3:23 elapsed time         2015    50 scoring drives (41 TDs, 9 FGs)     2:53 elapsed time
2009    49 scoring drives (44 TDs, 5 FGs)    3:21 elapsed time         2016    60 scoring drives (48 TDs, 12 FGs)    2:54 elapsed time
2010    41 scoring drives (34 TDs, 7 FGs)    3:04 elapsed time         2017    33 scoring drives (21 TDs, 12 FGs)    3:27 elapsed time
2011    78 scoring drives (60 TDs, 18 FGs)   2:54 elapsed time

The Gorillas have been highly successful when they are quick out of the gates. Pitt State has scored on its opening drive 72 times (61 TDs, 11 FGs) in the last 151 games, posting a 64-8 (.889) record in those games. By contrast, Pitt State is 43-36 (.544) in games it doesn't score on its opening drive during the same span.

Inside The Pitt State Offense / Defense
Senior running back Michael Rose rushed for a career-high 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Emporia State last week. He became the first Pitt State back since 2008 to recorc a 200-yard rushing game. The Albuquerque, N.M., native has 142 carries for 726 yards (5.1 ypc) on the season, averaging 107.3 rushing yards per game. He currently ranks third in the MIAA in rushing yards. For his career, Rose has gained 1,984 yards on 376 carries (5.3 ypc) with 17 touchdowns.

Senior wide receiver Austin Panko has amassed 102 career receptions for 1,546 yards (15.2 ypc) and 11 touchdowns. The Lee's Summit, Mo., entered the Gorillas' all-time top 10 list for receiving yards following the Washburn game on Sept. 30 and he currently ranks eighth on the list. Panko also broke into Pitt State's top 10 list for career receptions against NSU on Sept. 16. His 102 receptions currently ranks fifth all-time at PSU.

Freshman safety Morgan Selemaea was named the MIAA Defensive Player of the Week Monday (Oct. 23) for his play against Emporia State. The Harrisonville, Mo., native posted a team-leading nine tackles (eight solo), registered a quarterback sack, recovered a fumble and recorded an interception in the contest. For the season, Selemaea has made 18 tackles (13 solo) with 5.0 TFLs and 4.0 quarterback sacks.

Sophomore placekicker Jared Vincent was selected the MIAA Special Teams Player of the Week Monday (Oct. 23) after booting a pair of field goals against ESU. The Claremore, Okla., native converted a 31-yard field goal with 7:27 remaining in the game to give Pitt State a three-possession lead over ESU on the fourth play after the game was resumed Sunday following an overnight weather delay. For the season, he has made 12 of 14 field goals (.857) and 23 of 26 PAT tries (.870), scoring a team-leading 59 points (7.4 ppg). Vincent leads the MIAA in field goal percentage and ranks second in the MIAA in field goals (1.5 pg).

Scouting the Bearcats
Senior quarterback Zach Martin directs the NWMSU offense. Martin (6-3, 205) has completed 178 of 280 passes (.636) for 2,035 yards (254.4 ypg) and 14 touchdowns with just one interception.

Freshman running back Jordan Thompson (5-10, 190) has rushed the ball 75 times for 395 yards (5.3 ypc) and sixt touchdowns, while sophomore running back Brody McMahon (5-10, 203) has carried the ball 81 times for 347 yards (4.3 ypc) and four scores.

Senior running back Jordan Grove (6-0, 219) has caught 35 passes for 373 yards (10.7 ypc) and three touchdowns, while junior wide receiver Shawn Bane (5-11, 170) has 34 grabs for 481 yards (14.1 ypc) and five scores. Grove also has rushed for 188 yards and a score.

The NWMSU offense is averaging 29.0 points and 426.9 total yards (265.2 passing).

Junior linebacker Ben Althoff (6-1, 220) has made a team-leading 55 tackles (23 solo) with 5.0 tackles-for-loss and 2.0 quarterback sacks, while junior defensive end Austin Eskew (6-4, 248) has posted 30 tackles (14 solo) with 8.0 TFLs and 5.0 quarterback sacks.

As a unit, the NWMSU defense is allowing just 7.2 points, 201.4 total yards and 39.2 rushing yards per game – leading NCAA Division II in all three statistical categories.

Junior Brett Garner has converted eight of 17 field goals on the season and all 27 of his 28 PAT tries. Junior Matt Thorman has punted 31 times for a 37.9-yard average.

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