PITTSBURG — Thanks to an aggressive pash rush in the second half, the Pitt State defense defeated the Gorillas offense, 44-40, in the 2012 Spring Game played before approximately 1,000 fans at Brandenburg Field/Carnie Smith Stadium Saturday (Apr. 28).
Both sides of the ball showed positive signs as well as areas for improvement as the team ran about 80 scrimmage plays (40 per half) against one another.
Sophomore quarterback Anthony Abenoja completed nine of 18 passes for 167 yards in the contest, while freshman Darrack Harger completed eight of 15 passes for 127 yards, including a 41-yard scoring connection to redshirt freshman wide receiver Herman Ming on the game's final play.
The offense built a 25-15 halftime advantage on the strength of a long scoring drive that was capped by senior running back Briceton Wilson's 20-yard romp. Junior Jake Craig also connected on a 31-yard field goal.
The defense registered 10 quarterback sacks in the contest as well as seven pass breakups. Sophomore defensie end Avery Adair made five tackles, including 3.5 QB sacks, while sophomore defensive end Dallas Shalz added six tackles with 2.0 QB sacks and two PBUs.
Ming had two catches for 86 yards, while senior Andrew Castaneda had three grabs for 44 yards. Senior Jason Spradling led the ground gainers with nine rushes for 60 yards, while redshirt freshman Brian Poston carried the ball nine times for 41 yards.
Using the special scoring formula, the offense could score six points for a touchdown, three points for a field goal, two points for a 2-point conversion and one point for first downs, 20+ yard plays and successful PAT tries.
For the defense, Pitt State could score 12 points for a defensive score, five points for a fumble recovery, two points for a QB sack, failed 2-point conversion try or a fourth-down stop inside its 50 yard line, as well as single points for forcing a punt, forcing a field goal on a drive inside its 50 yard line, a tackle-for-loss and a pass deflection.
At halftime of the contest, senior members of the 2011 NCAA Division II National Championship squad helped unveil the August Rua Press Box face with the team's 2011 notation on the list of Pitt State's national champion squads.