No. 10 Gorillas to Host FCS Member Abilene Christian for Homecom - KOAM TV 7

No. 10 Gorillas to Host FCS Member Abilene Christian for Homecoming





The Pittsburg State University football team, the No. 10 ranked team in NCAA Division II, will return to the friendly confines of Brandenburg Field/Carnie Smith Stadium Saturday (Oct. 5) to host Abilene Christian University in the Gorillas' Homecoming game.

Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. (CDT).

Pittsburg State, the winningest all-time NCAA Division II program, brings a 4-0 record, including a 4-0 mark in MIAA play, into Saturday's contest. The Gorillas have averaged a 57-19 victory over MIAA foes Northeastern State (45-6), Central Oklahoma (65-24), Southwest Baptist (59-7) and Lincoln (59-38).

Abilene Christian, which left NCAA Division II and the Lone Star Conference last year to move up to the NCAA Football Championship Series (FCS), brings a 3-2 record into Saturday's match-up.  The Wildcats dropped a hard-fought 41-34 double overtime decision to Lone Star Conference foe Tarleton State University at Frisco, Texas, last Saturday.

The Coaches
Tim Beck has compiled a 30-10 (.750) career record in his fourth season as head coach at Pitt State.  

Beck led his alma mater (PSU, '88) to the 2011 NCAA Division II National Championship two seasons ago, 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.

Last year, the Gorillas opened the season 5-0 before finishing the year 7-3 overall.

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 first meeting vs. Abilene Chrisian.

ACU's Ken Collums is in his second year leading the Wildcats. Collums (Cent. Ark., '95) has compiled a 10-6 (.625) record in his short tenure leading ACU. This will be his first meeting vs. Pitt State.

The Pitt State-Abilene Christian Series
This will be the first meeting between the Gorillas and the Wildcats.

Pitt State vs NCAA FCS Opponents
This will mark the fourth time since 1978 that Pitt State faces an NCAA FCS (formerly I-AA) opponent. The Gorillas are 2-1 in their previous match-ups, all road games, defeating Arkansas State, 34-13, on Nov. 4, 1989, losing to Eastern Illinois, 41-31, on Sept. 7, 1996, and defeating Missouri State, 9-8, on Aug. 28, 1997.

Gorillas vs NCAA Texas Schools
Since joining the NCAA Division II ranks in 1989, Pitt State has faced NCAA member schools from the state of Texas 10 times, posting an 8-2 record including a 4-1 mark in the NCAA post-season.

The Gorillas are 1-0 vs. Texas A&M-Kingsville, 1-0 vs. West Texas A&M, 6-1 vs. Texas A&M-Commerce and 0-1 vs. Angelo State.

Gorillas on Homecoming
Pitt State has posted a 51-11-2 (.813) record in Homecoming games since 1949.

The Gorillas are 27-6 (.818) on Homecoming since 1980.  Last year, the Gorillas dropped a 63-14 decision to Missouri Western on Homecoming.

This will be just the second time Pitt State plays its Homecoming game on Oct. 5. The Gorillas defeated former MIAA rival Truman, 31-16, on that date in 1996.

PSU's Regular Season Success
Pitt State has won 260 of its last 306 regular season games, posting a phenomenal 260-44-2 (.853) mark during the past 29 seasons (1985-2013). PSU is 142-14-1 at home, 112-22-1 on the road and 4-8-0 at neutral sites in the regular season during that span.

Pitt State in the AFCA Top 25 Poll
Pitt State has been ranked in Division II's top 10 98 times in the last 182 polls and the Gorillas have been ranked in the top 25 poll in 156 of 182 weeks overall (dating back to the 1999 season).

Gorillas in "the Pitt"
The Gorillas have compiled a 334-120-12 (.730) record at Brandenburg Field/Carnie Smith Stadium since the facility opened in 1924.

The Gorillas are 166-20-1 (.890) at home during the past 29 seasons (1985-2013). Pitt State is 144-14-1 (.909) in 159 regular season home games and 22-6 (.786) in 28 post-season home games during that span.

Abilene Christian is 30-11 (.732) away from Shotwell Stadium since 2006, but the Wildcats are 7-7 on road trips since the past three seasons.

Ground Game PSU's Bread and Butter…
Pitt State's success can be directly linked to its ability to rush the football.

Since the 1986 season, PSU has rushed for 200-plus yards in 280 of 333 overall games.  The Gorillas have posted a 2 49-31-1 (.888) record when they eclipse 200 yards rushing.  Pitt State is an even more impressive 137-6-0 (.958) when it eclipses 300 yards rushing.

By contrast, PSU is just 24-30-1 (.445) in the handful of games when it has been held below 200 yards rushing.

Since 1986, PSU has rushed the ball for the highest yardage total among all NCAA Division II programs, with 96,133 yards (including postseason competition) for an average of 288.7 yards per game.

The Gorillas currently rank ninth nationally in rushing, averaging 300.5 yards per game on the ground. Pitt State has rushed the ball 196 times for 1,279 yards (6.2 ypc) and 15 touchdowns.

… But Don't Overlook PSU Passing Attack
While it's no secret Pitt State's offensive success has been predicated on running the football, the Gorillas have unleashed a potent passing attack to compliment their stalwart running game.

Since the start of the 2004 season, the Gorillas have passed for 24,202 yards and 184 TDs, averaging 228.3 passing yards and 1.7 touchdown passes per game in the last 106 outings.

In 2012, quarterback Tony Abenoja established a new single-season passing record, averaging 233.0 passing yards per game.  Also, against Lincoln last Saturday Abenoja established new school single game records for passing yards (442), passing touchdowns (5) and total offense (463 yards).

The Gorillas have averaged 304.5 passing yards in their first four games with 15 touchdowns and just one interception.
Quick Strike Offense
The Pitt State offense has exhibited a penchant for being a "quick strike" unit.

During the last nine seasons (2005-13), the Pitt State offense has generated 562 scoring drives (482 TDs, 80 FGs) and averaged just 2:53 of elapsed time per drive.

2005    97 scoring drives (86 TDs, 11 FGs)    2:40 elapsed time    2010    41 scoring drives (34 TDs, 7 FGs)    3:04 elapsed time
2006    79 scoring drives (72 TDs, 7 FGs)    2:14 elapsed time    2011    78 scoring drives (60 TDs, 18 FGs)    2:54 elapsed time
2007    64 scoring drives (55 TDs, 9 FGs)    3:02 elapsed time    2012    51 scoring drives (40 TDs, 11 FGs)    2:58 elapsed time
2008    69 scoring drives (61 TDs, 8 FGs)    3:23 elapsed time    2013    34 scoring drives (30 TDs, 4 FGs)    2:38 elapsed time
2009    49 scoring drives (44 TDs, 5 FGs)    3:21 elapsed time

The Gorillas have been highly successful when they are quick out of the gates.  Pitt State has scored on its opening drive 49 times (41 TDs, 8 FGs) in the last 99 games, posting a 46-3 (.939) record in those games. By contrast, Pitt State is 27-24 (.529) in games it doesn't score on its opening drive during the same span.

Pitt State Displays Prolific Offense
The Pitt State offense has asserted itself as one of the top units in NCAA Division II the past 10 seasons (2004-13).

Pitt State's high octane "multiple choice" offense ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 nationally in both scoring and total offense in three of the last seven seasons.

In 2004, PSU staked its claim as the most prolific offense in the history of NCAA football, leading Division II in scoring (55.8 ppg), rushing (354.7 ypg) and total offense (598.4 ypg).

Pitt State broke the NCAA's 118-year-old all-time all division scoring record with 837 points, besting the old mark of 765 points set by Harvard in 1886.  The Gorillas also broke the all-time NCAA all division records for rushing (5,320 yards) and total offense (8,976 yards) in 2004.

Oklahoma set the previous rushing record (5,196 yards) in 1971, and Texas Tech held the previous total offense mark (7,576 yards) in 2003.

In 2005, Pitt State ranked second nationally in scoring and total offense, averaging 46.8 points and 536.0 total yards per game.  The Gorillas also ranked seventh nationally in rushing, averaging 295.2 yards a game.

In 2006, Pitt State led NCAA Division II in scoring and ranked No. 2 nationally in total offense, averaging 44.8 points and 454.8 total yards per game in 2006.

In 2007, the Gorillas ranked 21st nationally in scoring and 19th nationally in total offense, averaging 37.4 points and 454.2 total yards per game.

In 2008, Pitt State ranked 18th nationally in scoring (35.5 ppg) and 21st in the nation in total offense (432.6 ypg).

In 2009, the Pitt State offense averaged 29.4 points and 434.4 total yards per game, while the Gorillas averaged 22.8 points and 357.7 total yards per game in 2010.

In 2011, the Gorillas ranked sixth nationally in scoring (40.2 ppg) and 19th in the country in total offense (448.5 ypg). In 2012, the Gorillas ranked 24th nationally in total offense (454.4 ypg) and 27th in the country in rushing offense (204.6 ypg).

This season, Pittsburg State is currently ranked second nationally in scoring (56.3 ppg), 12th nationally in rushing offense (289.0 ypg) and seventh in total offense (547.7 ypg).

All-Time Winningest Football Programs
Pittsburg State is the all-time winningest NCAA Division II football program.  The Gorillas, who are in their 105th season of intercollegiate competition, have compiled a 667-329-48 overall record, winning 66.2 percent of their 1,044 all-time games.

Pittsburg State is one of just 18 NCAA Division II institutions to have recorded 500 all-time victories and the Gorillas are just one of three schools to have reached the 600-win plateau.  Tuskegee is second on the all-time list with 643 victories, followed by Hillsdale (604), Central Oklahoma (592) and Texas A&M-Kingsville (590).

Dreiling Climbs Career Tackles Chart
Senior linebacker Nate Dreiling continues to climb both the Pitt State and MIAA career tackles charts. Dreiling (6-4, 228) has posted double-digit tackles in 25 of 40 career games for the Gorillas.

The Hutchinson/Victoria, Kan., native now has 418 (10.5 pg) career tackles. He needs 53 stops to become PSU's all-time tackles leader.  Dreiling trails only former All-American Chris Brown (470) on the career list.

Dreiling also needs six tackles to take over ninth place on the MIAA's all-time tackle chart. Truman's Marti Rave (1977-79) holds the MIAA career tackle mark (489).

PSU Career Tackles    Total    MIAA Career Tackles    Total
    1.    Chris Brown, 1992-95    470        1.    Marti Rave, Truman, 1977-79    489
    2.    Nate Dreiling, 2011-pres.    418        2.    Zach Watkins, WU, 2006-09    473

                       9.    Dennis O'Hagan, MSU, 1977-80    423    
                    10.    Nate Dreiling, Pitt State, 2011-pres.    418

Abenoja Leads Nation in Passing Efficiency
Junior quarterback Tony Abenoja currently leads NCAA Division II with a 204.7 passer rating.  He also ranks third nationally in completing percentage (.731) and tied for fourth in points responsible for (23.0 ppg).

Abenoja (6-3, 210) has completed 76 of 104 passes for 1,174 yards (293.5 ypg) and 14 touchdowns with one interception.  The Overland Park, Kan., native also has rushed the ball 27 times for 168 yards (6.2 ypc) and two touchdowns.

Abenoja established a trio of new Pitt State single game records last Saturday against Lincoln, passing for 442 yards with five touchdowns and compiling 463 yards of total offense

For his career, Abenoja has completed 260 of 384 passes (.677) for 3,768 yards and 32 touchdowns with 11 interceptions.  He's also rushed 120 times for 380 yards (3.2 ypc) and five TDs, compiling 4,148 yards of total offense. Abenoja already ranks seventh on PSU's career passing yards and career passing touchdowns lists.

He also improved to 11-3 (.786) as the Gorillas starting quarterback.

Brown Continues to Make History
Senior wide receiver/return specialist John Brown captured Pitt State's all-time receiving record with a nine-catch, 237-yard performance in the Gorillas' game against Lincoln last Saturday (Sept. 28).

Brown (5-11, 170) scored five total touchdowns in the contest to tie the PSU single game scoring record (30 points) and he compiled 294 all-purpose yards, earning MIAA Offensive Player of the Week honors.

His 237-yard receiving total ranks second on Pitt State's single game chart and fifth in MIAA single game history.

The Homestead, Fla., native now holds both the Pitt State career receptions record (148) and the Pitt State career receiving yards mark (2,722 yards). He passed Ronnie West, the only wide receiver in Division II history to win the Harlon Hill Trophy in 1991, atop the list, in his 28th game – the same number of games West played in 1990-91.

Brown now needs 328 yards to carve his name in the MIAA career receiving top 10 list.

PSU Career Receiving    G    Rec    Yards    YPG    MIAA Career Receiving    Rec    Yards
    1.    John Brown, 2011-pr.    28    148    2722    97.2        1.    Jamaica Rector, NW, 2001-04    289    4497
    2.    Ronnie West, 1990-91    28    123    2521    90.0        10.    Andre Rector, NW, 2002-05    213    3049
                                    John Brown, PSU, 2011-pres.    148    2722

PSU Career All-Purpose    Rush    Rec    PR    KR    Yards
   1.    Ronald Moore, 1989-92    5776    318    0    1084    7178

    3.    Monte Weathers, 1984-87    3852    295    686    1932    6764    
    4.    John Brown, 2011-pr.    329    2722    894    1197    5142

Odds & Ends
    •    Junior place kicker Connor Frazell has coverted 15 of 21 (.714) career field goals and 69 of 72 (.958) career PATs.
    •    Sophomore running back Jeff Seybold, Jr. rushed the ball 20 times for 187 yards and  two TDs vs LU. It marked the highest rushing total by
         a PSU back since Briceton Wilson carried the ball 35 times for 189 yards and two TDs vs. Fort Hays State on Oct. 8, 2011.
    •    Pitt State is +6 (+1.5 pg) in turnover margin in its first four games with 10 takeaways vs. four giveaways. The Gorillas are 10-0 during
         Coach Beck's tenure in games they are +2 or better in turnover margin.
    •    The Gorillas have executed their 2-minute offense perfectly at the end of the first half their first four games, going 62 yards in six plays and
         1:03 elapsed to score a TD vs. NSU, going 40 yards in four plays and 49 seconds elapsed to score a TD vs. UCO, going 62 yards in three
         plays and 24 seconds elapsed to score a TD vs. SBU and going 66 yards in eight plays in 1:48 of elapsed time to score a TD vs. LU.
    •    Pitt State has scored on its opening possession of the game three times in 2013 and the Gorillas have scored on their opening possession
         of the second half in all four games.

Scouting the Wildcats
Abilene Christian is in its first season transitioning to become an NCAA FCS (Football Championship Series) institution. The Wildcats opened their independent schedule with three straight wins, before suffering back-to-back losses the last two weeks.

As a team, the Wildcats are averaging 467.2 yards per game of total offense, including 283.0 yards per game through the air and 184.2 yards per game on the ground. They are averaging 49.4 points per game as well.

Senior running back Charcandrick West (5-10, 205) has tallied 402 yards on 74 carries (5.4 ypc) with eight touchdowns to lead the Wildcat rushing attack through the first five games. West rushed for a season-high 139 yards with four touchdowns against McMurray on Sept. 7.

Senior quarterback John David Baker (6-0, 205) has completed 103 of 158 passes for 1,338 yards with 17 touchdowns and one interception. The San Angelo, Texas., native has also rushed for 141 yards on 47 carries (3.0 ypc) with two touchdowns. In the team's most recent action against Tarleton State Baker completed 26 of 46 pass attempts for 230 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Senior wide receiver Darian Hogg (6-1, 190) has been Baker's go-to target through five games. The Arlington, Texas, native has hauled in 26 catches for 464 yards (17.8 ypc) and five touchdowns.

Senior wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (5-9, 175) also has 21 catches for 317 yards and three touchdowns.

Abilene Christian's defense is led by senior linebacker Thor Woerner (6-1, 245) and junior defensive back Angel Lopez (5-10, 200).  The combo has combined for 40 tackles with 4.0 tackles-for-loss, two sacks and two interceptions. Junior defensive end Nick Richardson (6-1, 240) has logged 24 tackles (14 solo) with 7.0 tackles-for-loss, 6.0 sacks, two fumble recoveries.  

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