KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chase McCoy booted a 26-yard field goal as time expired to help lift No. 15 Pittsburg State University to a 38-35 victory over No. 1 NW Missouri State University in The Fall Classic X at Arrowhead Stadium.
McCoy's third field goal of the game helped the unbeaten Gorillas (5-0, 4-0 MIAA) halt the Bearcats (4-1, 3-1 MIAA) record streak of 49 consecutive MIAA regular season victories.
Pitt State became the first conference team to defeat Northwest in the regular season since the Gorillas handed the Bearcats a 56-35 defeat in The Fall Classic V on Oct. 29, 2005. Pitt State also halted a painful seven-game losing streak in the series with Northwest.
The Gorillas had to rally from deficits of 21-0 and 28-6 to come from behind in the game played before 15,106 fans at Arrowhead Stadium Saturday.
Zac Dickey completed 14 of 21 passes for 223 yards and a touchdown and he rushed the ball 19 times for 102 yards and a score to lead the Pitt State offense.
John Brown caught eight passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns – a 49-yarder from Dickey in the third quarter and a 56-yard reverse pass from wide receiver Andrew Castaneda early in the fourth quarter. He also caught a successful 2-point conversion pass from Dickey that drew Pitt State even with Northwest at 28-28 with 12:37 to play in the game.
Pitt State overcame the 22-point deficit to storm in front 35-28 on Dickey's one-yard run with 7:28 to play in the game.
The Bearcats, stymied for the majority of the second half, countered though with an eight-play, 80-yard drive culminated by a 14-yard pass by backup quarterback Trevor Adams to Jake Soy, knotting the score at 35-35 with 4:12 to play in the game. Adams entered the game four plays earlier when starter Blake Christopher was knocked from the game.
Undaunted by the Bearcats' game-tying score, Pitt State marched the ball 72 yards in 11 plays, chewing up the remainder of the clock and leaving the potent Northwest offense on the sideline to watch the game's waning moments.
The Gorillas benefited from a pair of Bearcat penalties on their final drive – a personal foul late hit and an offsides call on a pivotal 3rd-and-4 play from the NW 33 that gave Pitt State a fresh set of downs in the game's final minute. From there, Dickey rushed twice for 12 yards and Briceton Wilson added a seven-yard run to the NW 9 to set up McCoy's game-winning kick.
McCoy added field goals of 29 and 25 yards in the second quarter to help Pitt State break up Northwest's early 21-0 lead and get the Gorillas on the board. Pitt State mounted an 11-play, 53-yard drive that chewed up 7:54 in elapsed time to get its first three points and the Gorillas added a seven-play 44-yard drive that devoured another 4:03 in the second stanza.
The Gorillas also got a defensive spark in the third quarter when safety Jason Peete returned an interception 44 yards for a touchdown. The "pick six" came five plays after Pitt State had scored on their opening drive of the third quarter to pull within 13, at 28-13. The defensive score made it a 28-20 game with 9:22 remaining in the third period.
Nate Dreiling paced the Gorillas defense with 12 tackles, while Spencer Worthington added a pair of quarterback sacks. Peete finished the game with five tackles a pair of tackles-for-loss, a forced fumble, and a pass breakup.
Christopher completed 21 of 29 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns in the game for the Bearcats. In addition to Soy's 165-yard receiving total, Tyler Shaw caught four passes for 70 yards, including a 44-yard TD reception.
James Franklin rushed the ball 10 times for a game-high 116 yards for the Bearcats, who gained 186 yards on the game on 31 carries.
Chad Kilgore made a game-high 17 tackles (five solo) for the Bearcats, while DJ Gnader and Josh Lorenson added 10 stops apiece.
The Gorillas will hit the road for Hays, Kan., to face MIAA rival Fort Hays State University next Saturday (Oct. 8). Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (CDT) at Lewis Field Stadium.