PITTSBURG — Dane Simoneau passed for 290 yards and two touchdowns and Justin Cooper rushed for 159 yards and two scores to lead No. 9 Washburn to a 43-25 victory over No. 2 Pitt State Saturday (Nov. 5) at Brandenburg Field/Carnie Smith Stadium.
The victory lifted the Ichabods (9-1, 7-1 MIAA) into a share of the conference lead with the Gorillas (8-1, 7-1 MIAA) with one game remaining in the regular season. Washburn hosts Central Missouri, while Pitt State entertains Missouri Southern in the regular season finale for both schools.
Neither team scored in the opening period of play as the Gorillas struggled to move the ball on offense and Pitt State twice held the Ichabods on downs in its territory.
Simoneau got WU on the board first midway through the second period, capping an 81-yard drive with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Mertz on the Ichabods' third 4th-down try of the game.
One play later, the Gorillas coughed up the ball deep in their territory and WU cashed in for a 23-yard Jeremy Linn field goal and a 10-0 lead with 5:53 remaining in the period.
John Brown sparked the Gorillas with a 100-yard kickoff return 12 seconds later to make it a 10-7 game, and 13 seconds after that J.R. Jones forced a WU fumble and Paul Robinson scooped it up and ran it in 28 yards for a touchdown and a 13-10 lead for Pitt State.
Simoneau marched the Ichabods back down the field and WU re-took the lead on his 3-yard TD pass to Tore Hurst with 2:22 remaining in the first half. The Ichabods then extended their margin to 24-13 when Devon Connors picked up a Pitt State fumble and returned it 52 yards for a score with 30 seconds to play in the period.
The Ichabods added field goals of 39 and 41 yards from Linn as well as a three-yard scoring from from Cooper to stretch their margin to 37-13 with 9:46 to play in the game.
The Gorillas countered with a quick strike drive with Zac Dickey firing a 32-yard touchdown pass to Brown with 9:05 to play. Then Pitt State recovered an onside kick and turned it into a 41-yard Dickey to Brown scoring play to make it a 37-25 game.
Pitt State forced another WU fumble but the Ichabods held the Gorillas on downs at the Ichabods 25.
Two plays later, Cooper effectively put the game out of reach with a 74-yard touchdown run and a 43-25 lead with 4:54 to play in the game.
Simoneau completed 25 of 46 passes, hitting DeJuan Beard eight times for 116 yards. Cooper carried the ball 28 times, while Sean McPherson added 15 carries for 70 yards and the Ichabods piled up 225 ground yards against Pitt State.
The Gorillas managed just 132 rushing yards in the contest, with Briceton Wilson getting 71 yards on 17 carries. Dickey completed 15 of 23 passes for 198 yards, finding Brown four times for 102 yards. Brown finished the game with 300 all-purpose yards.
The Ichabods ran 93 offensive plays in generating 515 yards of total offense. WU maintained possession of the football for 36 minutes, 10 seconds. Pitt State entered the game averaging 34:01 in time of possession.
Nate Dreiling made 16 tackles, while Luke Stringer added 14 stops including 3.0 tackles-for-loss for the Gorillas.