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Stakes High for No. 6 Gorillas, Bronchos Saturday - KOAM TV 7

Stakes High for No. 6 Gorillas, Bronchos Saturday

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Press Release PSU:

The Pittsburg State University football team, the No. 6 ranked team in NCAA Division II, will travel to Edmond, Okla., to face the University of Central Oklahoma in the regular season finale.


Kickoff is set for 2:07 p.m. (CST).

Saturday's game will be televised live locally on The Cox Channel KS – channels 122 and 2122 (HD). Additionally, the game will be available on a host of outlets across the MIAA geographical footprint, including KSMO-TV in Kansas City and KGCS-TV in Joplin, Mo.

Pittsburg State, the winningest all-time NCAA Division II program, brings a 9-1 record into Saturday's action. With a win over the Bronchos, the Gorillas would claim at least a share of their 12th MIAA Championship and the program's 31st conference title overall.  Pitt State posted a 38-31 victory over the University of Central Missouri last Saturday (Nov. 8) to stay tied atop the MIAA standings (with Northwest Missouri State University).

Central Oklahoma is 8-2 on the season. The Bronchos, who trail Pitt State and NWMSU by one game in the MIAA standings, need a victory over the Gorillas and a Bearcats loss to Washburn University this Saturday to force a three-way tie for the MIAA Championship. UCO posted a 45-13 road win over Lindenwood University last Saturday (Nov. 8).

The Coaches
Tim Beck is in his fifth season as head coach at Pitt State. He has compiled a 45-13 (.776) career record.

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

In 2013, the Gorillas opened the season 5-0 before finishing the year 7-3 overall, while last year Pitt State posted the program's 20th all-time 10-win season during a 10-2 campaign.

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 fourth meeting vs. UCO. He is 3-0 against the Bronchos.

Central Oklahoma's Nick Bobeck is in his third year leading his alma mater and his third season as a (four-year) collegiate head coach.  Bobeck (UCO, '02) returned to UCO after serving as the head coach at Navarro Junior College for three years. Bobeck has guided the Bronchos to a 12-18 (.400) record. This will be his third meeting vs. Pitt State. He is 0-2 vs. the Gorillas.

Conference Title Hopes
Pitt State has won outright or shared a total of 30 conference championships during the 107-year history of its football program, including 11 conference titles since joining the MIAA in 1989. A victory by the Gorillas over the Bronchos Saturday would give Pitt State at least a share of its 12th all-time MIAA title and 31st overall conference crown.

The Gorillas are seeking their first MIAA crown since 2011 when Pitt State went on to capture the NCAA Division II National Championship.

Pitt State All-Time MIAA Championships
    2011    1996 **    1991
    2004    1995    1990
    2003 *    1994    1989
    2001    1992

    * shared w/ UCM, ESU, MWSU, NWMSU
    ** shared w/ NWMSU

The Pitt State-Central Oklahoma Series
This will be the 12th all-time meeting between the Gorillas and the Bronchos in a series that dates all the way back to the 1915 season.

Pitt State holds a 6-3-1 advantage in the series, including four wins in the last five years. The Gorillas are 2-1-1 against the Bronchos in games played at Edmond, Okla.

Last year, junior quarterback Anthony Abenoja tossed three touchdown passes and rushed for a fourth score and sophomore running back Jeff Seybold, Jr., found the end zone three times to spark No. 16 Pittsburg State to a 65-24 victory over Central Oklahoma on Sept. 14.

The Gorillas built leads of 20-0 and 34-3 in the first half against the Bronchos and never looked back in their road debut at UCO's Wantland Stadium.

Pitt State piled up 595 yards of total offense in the contest. Abenoja completed 19 of 24 passes for 211 yards in three quarters of action.

Senior linebacker Nate Dreiling made a team-leading 10 tackles for a Pitt State defense that held UCO in check before the Bronchos scored 14 fourth-quarter points.

PSU's Regular Season Success
Pitt State has won 274 of its last 323 regular season games, posting a phenomenal 274-47-2 (.851) mark during the past 30 seasons (1985-2014). PSU is 149-16-1 at home, 121-22-1 on the road and 4-9-0 at neutral sites in the regular season during that span.

Gorillas on the Road
Pitt State has posted a 72-21-0 (.774) record in its last 93 road games (including post-season play), including a school record 19 straight road wins dating back to the 2010 season. The Gorillas have not dropped a road game since a 17-14 setback against Emporia State on Oct. 9, 2010. During the current 19-game streak, Pitt State has averaged a 39-15 victory over its opponents.

During the last 20 years (1994-pres.), the Gorillas are an equally impressive 83-23-1 (.780) on the road.

UCO has posted a 6-9 record in home games since joining the MIAA in 2012, including a 4-1 mark at Wantland Stadium this season. The Bronchos are 25-25 (.500) at home during the past 10 seasons (2005-14).

Pitt State in the AFCA Top 25 Poll
Pitt State, currently the No. 6 team in NCAA Division II, has been ranked in Division II's top 10 111 times in the last 200 polls and the Gorillas have been ranked in the top 25 poll in 174 of 200 weeks overall (dating back to the 1999 season).

UCO is 0-6 against nationally-ranked MIAA squads since joining the conference in 2012.

All-Time Winningest Programs
Pittsburg State is the all-time winningest NCAA Division II football program.  The Gorillas, who are in their 107th season of intercollegiate competition, have compiled a 682-332-48 overall record, winning 66.5 percent of their 1,062 all-time games.
Pittsburg State is one of just 17 NCAA Division II institutions to have recorded 500 all-time victories and the Gorillas are just one of five schools to have reached the 600-win plateau.  Tuskegee is second on the all-time list with 655 victories, followed by Hillsdale (612), Carson-Newman (602) and Central Oklahoma (602).
UCO has compiled a 602-377-46 (.610) record in 109 seasons of play.

Playing Ahead
Pitt State has capitalized on fast starts to build several early first-quarter leads this season.

The Gorillas have scored on their opening drive in five of 10 games. Pitt State has trailed in just five games this season for a total of 129 minutes, 43 seconds. The Gorillas have played in the lead in 389:05 of 600 total minutes played – an average 38:59 per game.  Pitt State has been tied or trailed for just 21:01 per game.

Pitt State Defense Among Best
The Pittsburg State University defense has established itself as one of the top units in NCAA Division II this season, ranking among the nation's top squads in several statistical categories. The Gorillas, who have posted two shutouts on the season, led NCAA Division II in points allowed before allowing 31 points against Central Missouri last Saturday.

For the season, Pitt State has surrendered just 123 points, an average of 12.3 points per game, and 2,539 total yards (253.9 ypg).   The Gorillas rank fourth nationally in scoring defense and total defnese.

Pitt State also ranks fourth nationally in passing yards allowed (142.6 ypg) and first down defense (13.0 pg).  The Gorillas rank fifth in passing efficiency defense (90.22 rating) and seventh nationally in red zone defense, allowing just 12 scores in 20 opponent trips inside the Pitt State red zone (.600, 12-for-20).

Pitt State Passing Attack Leads the MIAA
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.

In fact, Pitt State leads the MIAA in passing, averaging 305.4 yards per game.  Gorilla quarterbacks have completed 202 of 330 passes (.612) for 3,138 yards and 26 touchdowns with just eight INTs.

Since the start of the 2004 season, the Gorillas have passed for 29,130 yards and 224 TDs, averaging 234.9 passing yards and 1.8 touchdown passes per game in the last 124 outings.

In 2013, quarterback Anthony Abenoja established a new single-season passing record, averaging 246.2 passing yards per game.  Also, against Lincoln on Sept. 28 Abenoja established new school single game records for passing yards (442), passing touchdowns (5) and total offense (463 yards). The Gorillas averaged 247.7 passing yards with 31 touchdowns and five interceptions last year.

This year, Abenoja has become the school's all-time passing yards leader (8,602) and he's averaging 305.4 passing yards with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions. During the past two seasons (2013-14), Abenoja has completed 385 of 619 passes (.622) for 6,008 yards (273.7 ypg) and 55 touchdowns with just 11 interceptions.

To compliment the passing game, Pitt State has rushed the ball for the highest yardage total among all NCAA Division II programs since 1986, compiling 99,380 rushing yards (including postseason competition) for an average of 283.1 yards in 351 games overall.

Quick Strike Offense
The Pitt State offense has exhibited a penchant for being a "quick strike" unit.

During the last 10 seasons (2005-14), the Pitt State offense has generated 666 scoring drives (561 TDs, 105 FGs) and averaged just 2:37 of elapsed time per drive. [Overtime scoring drives not included in elapsed time figures.]

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    83 scoring drives (70 TDs, 13 FGs)    2:29 elapsed time
2009    49 scoring drives (44 TDs, 5 FGs)    3:21 elapsed time    2014    55 scoring drives (39 TDs, 16 FGs)    3:05 elapsed time

The Gorillas have been highly successful when they are quick out of the gates.  Pitt State has scored on its opening drive 58 times (47 TDs, 10 FGs) in the last 118 games, posting a 55-3 (.948) record in those games. By contrast, Pitt State is 33-27 (.550) 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 11 seasons (2004-14). 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 eight 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), while the Gorillas ranked 24th nationally in total offense (454.4 ypg) and 27th in the country in rushing offense (204.6 ypg) in 2012. Last year, Pitt State ranked third nationally in scoring (46.5 ppg) and 10th in the country in total offense (499.0 ypg).

The Gorillas are averaging 34.1 points and 462.5 yards of total offense this season.

Abenoja Among Nation's Top Quarterbacks
Senior quarterback Anthony Abenoja is in his third year directing the high-powered Pitt State offense. Abenoja (6-3, 217) has compiled a 25-6 (.806) record as the Gorillas' starter under center.

The Overland Park, Kan., native became Pitt State's all-time passing leader on Sept. 11 against Lindenwood, when he completed 20 of 31 passes for 323 yards and three TDs.

He garnered MIAA Offensive Player of the Week honors on Sept. 20 when he completed 19 of 33 passes for 330 yards and four TDs against Washburn.

Abenoja also set the Pitt State career touchdown passes record (62) when he threw for 438 yards – the second-best single game passing total – and five TDs vs. Emporia State (Oct. 11). For the season, he has completed 202 of 320 passes (.612) for 3,054 yards (305.4 ypg) and 25 touchdowns with six interceptions.

He currently leads the MIAA and ranks 11th in NCAA Division II in passing efficiency with a 160.3 rating. Abenoja also leads the MIAA in passing yards (305.4 ypg) and total offense (313.5 ypg).

For his career, Abenoja has completed 543 of 886 passes (.612) for 8,174 yards and 70 touchdowns. He also has rushed for 613 net yards to compile 8,787 yards of total offense.

Abenoja has recorded the top five single-game passing totals in school history, including a school record 442-yard passing performance against Lincoln as a junior in 2013 and a 438-yard effort against Emporia State (Oct. 11). He already holds the school's career completions record, and he also ranks second on Pitt State's career total offense list with 9,233 yards.

He needs 12 passing yards to break Andy Majors' single season passing record of 3,065 yards from the 205 season.

Abenoja has broken into the MIAA's all-time top 10 passing list (he's currently eighth) and he ranks seventh on the conference top 10 total offense list as well.

PSU Career Passing Yards    Comp-Att    Yards
    1.    Anthony Abenoja, 2011-pr.    569-928    8602

PSU Single Season Passing Yards    Comp-Att    Yards
    1.    Andy Majors, 2005    198-346    3065

    2.    Anthony Abenoja, 2014    202-330    3054

MIAA Career Passing Yards    Comp-Att    Yards
    1.    Eric Czerniewski, UCM, 2006-10    1043-1678    12847

    6.    Adam Hinspeter, MSSU, 2005-08    842-1368    9016
    7.    Blake Bolles, NWMSU, 2007-10    662-995    8668
    8.    Anthony Abenoja, 2011-pr.    569-928    8602

PSU Career Passing Touchdowns    TDs
    1.    Anthony Abenoja, 2011-pr.    70

PSU Career Total Offense    Pass    Rush    Total
    1.    Neal Philpot, 2001-04    5831    4337    10168

    2.    Anthony Abenoja, 2011-pr.    8602    631    9233

MIAA Career Total Offense    Pass    Rush    Total
    1.    Eric Czerniewski, UCM, 2006-10    12847    131    12978

    5.    Kasey Waterman, MWSU, 1998-2001    10025    31    10056
    6.    Blake Bolles, NWMSU, 2007-10    8537    717    9254
    7.    Anthony Abenoja, 2011-pr.    8602    631    9233

Cushon Leads MIAA in Receiving Yards
Junior wide receiver Marquise Cushon recorded his seventh career 100-yard receiving game – and his sixth this season – against Central Missouri on Nov. 8. The Kansas City, Mo., native caught nine passes for a career-high 221 yards and two TDs against the Mules, earning MIAA Offensive Player of the Week honors.

For the season, Cushon (5-10, 162) has 54 catches for 1,073 yards (19.9 ypc) and seven touchdowns. He currently leads the MIAA and ranks 10th in NCAA Division II in receiving yards (107.3 ypg). Cushon currently ranks sixth on Pitt State's single season receiving yards chart with 1,073 yards.

For his career, Cushon has 75 receptions for 1,475 yards (19.7 ypc) and 10 touchdowns.  He needs 108 receiving yards to climb as high as sixth on Pitt State's all-time top 10 list.

Cushon also has 33 carries for 276 rushing yards (8.4 ypc) and he's compiled 2,626 career all-purpose yards.

PSU Single Season Receiving Yards    Rec    Yards
    1.    Ronnie West, 1991    74    1495

    2.    John Brown, 2011    61    1216
    3.    John Brown, 2013    61    1198
    4.    Gene Wayenberg, Jr., 1981    48    1124
    5.    Jermaine Carpenter, 2004    49    1115
    6.    Marquise Cushon, 2014    54    1073

PSU Career Receiving Yards    Rec    Yards
    1.    John Brown, 2011-13    185    3387

    5.    Jermaine Carpenter, 2003-04    69    1671
    6.    Marques Nelson, 2005-08    82    1582
    7.    Bryan Pray, 2005-06    80    1510
    8.    Marquise Cushon, 2011-pr.    75    1475

Lutman Continues to Produce Big Numbers
Senior wide receiver Gavin Lutman set both Pitt State and MIAA single game receiving records when he caught 10 passes for 268 yards and four touchdowns on Oct. 11 against Emporia State.

Lutman (6-4, 201) bested Kendall Fisher's Pitt State record of 238 receiving yards set on Oct. 17, 2009, against Emporia State. The Peculiar, Mo., native also topped the MIAA record of 254 yards set by Rod Smith of Missouri Southern on Oct. 19, 1991 against Southwest Baptist.

He followed that game up with a six-catch, 134-yard effort against Northwest Missouri on Oct. 18.

For the season, Lutman has 53 catches for 930 yards (17.5 ypc) and 10 touchdowns, ranking second in the MIAA in receiving yards (93.0 ypg). For his career, Lutman has 113 receptions for 1,802 yards (15.8 ypc) and 15 touchdowns. He climbed to fourth on PSU's career receiving yards list and he currently is third in career receptions.

PSU Career Receiving Yards    Rec    Yards
    1.    John Brown, 2011-13    185    3387

    2.    Ronnie West, 1990-91    123    2521
    3.    Gene Wayenberg, Jr., 1980-81    75    1827
    4.    Gavin Lutman, 2010, '12-pr.    113    1802

PSU Career Receptions    Rec
    1.    John Brown, 2011-13    185

    2.    Ronnie West, 1990-91    123
    3.    Gavin Lutman, 2010, '12-pr.    106

Frazell Steady in Kicking Game
Senior place kicker Connor Frazell has provided a steady leg to Pitt State's kicking game the past three seasons.

Frazell (6-0, 183) booted three field goals – from 25, 25 and 34 yards – in the Gorillas' 23-14 victory vs. Missouri Western on Oct. 4 to earn MIAA Special Teams Player of the Week honors.  He also made three field goals – from 20, 37 and 38 yards – in Pitt State's 36-21 win vs. Nebraska-Kearney on Oct. 25 to claim the conference honors for a second time.

The Iola, Kan., native established a new PSU record by making 14 consecutive field goals – he made the final 10 field goal attempts of the 2013 season and his first four tries in 2014.

For the season, he has converted 16 of 24 field goals. During his three-year career, Frazell has converted 40 of 54 (.741) field goals and 148 of 151 (.980) PATs.  He has converted his last 104 consecutive PATs.

PSU Career Field Goals    FGs
    1.    Josh Barcus, 1995-98    44

    2.    Connor Frazell, 2012-pr.    40
                    
PSU Career Kick Scoring    Points
    1.    Nathan Alleman, 2003-06    401

    3.    Josh Barcus, 1995-98    287
    4.    Connor Frazell, 2012-pr.    268

Scouting the Bronchos
Central Oklahoma has compiled an 8-2 record heading into the regular season finale. The Bronchos have posted six consecutive victories since dropping a 36-13 decision to then No. 1 ranked Northwest Missouri State University at Edmond on Sept. 27. UCO posted a 45-13 road win over Lindenwood University in its last action on Nov. 8.

The Bronchos are scoring 30.8 points per game and averaging 393.7 total yards (193.5 rushing, 200.2 passing).

Redshirt freshman quarterback Chas Stallard (6-0, 210) has completed 173 of 257 passes for 1,806 yards (200.7 ypg) and eight touchdowns with five interceptions. He also has carried the ball 125 times for 618 yards (4.9 ypc) with nine touchdowns.

Sophomore running back Jake Gandara (5-10, 195) has carried the ball 167 times for 974 yards (5.8 ypc) and 11 touchdowns, averaging 108.2 yards per game. He also has caught 31 passes for 230 yards (7.4 ypc).

Senior wide receiver Christian Hood (5-11, 190) has caught 42 passes for a team-leading 461 yards (11.0 ypc) and one TDd, while senior wide receiver Marquez Clark (5-11, 185) has 35 grabs for 337 yards (9.3 ypc) and one score. Sophomore wide receiver Connor Pulley (6-4, 235) also has 21 catches for 379 yards (18.0 ypc) and a team-leading four TDs.

Defensively, the Bronchos are allowing 19.5 points and 379.3 total yards per game (199.8 rushing, 179.5 passing).

Senior linebacker Chass Glaspie (6-1, 257) has made a team-leading 76 tackles (37 solo) with 4.5 tackles-for-loss and two forced fumbles.

Senior safety Matt Pruitt (6-0, 203) has 68 stops (43 solo) with two interceptions and 11 pass break-ups, while junior defensive tackle Kenny Allen (6-2, 294) has 33 stops (13 solo) with 8.5 tackles-for-loss and an MIAA-leading 7.5 quarterback sacks.

Sophomore kicker Seth Hiddink (6-4, 215) has converted 12 of 20 field goals and 36 of 36 PATs on the season. Senior Ned Balme (6-2, 210) has punted 53 times for a 36.8 yard average with 12 kicks inside the opponent 20 yard line.
Clark has averaged 29.9 yards per kickoff return, while Hood has returned seven punts for an 11.4-yard average.
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