Tony Abenoja passed for 290 yards and three scores and ran for another touchdown to lead No. 10 Pittsburg State to a 31-21 road win over Central Missouri Saturday (Oct. 12) at Audrey J. Walton Stadium.
The Gorillas (6-0, 6-0 MIAA) overcome a 14-7 first-half deficit against the Mules (2-4, 1-4 MIAA).
Abenoja completed 20 of 30 passes in the game, including 12 targets to John Brown for a game-high 199 yards.
Brown hauled in a five-yard touchdown catch with 1:00 remaining in the second quarter to help the Gorillas draw even at 14-14 against the Mules.
On the ensuing kickoff, Isaac Maselera recovered a mishandled return to give Pitt State back possession of the ball. Brown then tip-toed the sideline for a key 38-yard grab to the UCM 5 before Abenoja tossed a 1-yard TD pass to tight end Conner Combes with six ticks remaining in the half.
Brown added a 30-yard touchdown grab on the first possession of the second half to give Pitt State a two-score lead.
Abenoja rushed 19 times for 64 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown scamper in the first quarter.
The Pitt State defense forced four turnovers in the game.
Nate Dreiling intercepted a Hayden Hawk pass on the first play of the game to set up Abenoja's scoring run to open the game.
The Gorillas limited the Mules to 59 net rushing yards on 27 carries. Dreiling made a team-leading eight stops.
Hawk completed 24 of 43 passes for 362 yards and three touchdowns for the Mules. RonRei Lloyd had eight catches for 176 yards.
The undefeated Gorillas will travel to Kansas City, Mo., next Saturday (Oct. 19) to face unbeaten Northwest Missouri State University in The Fall Classic at Arrowhead XII. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. (CDT) at Arrowhead Stadium.