A two yard touchdown toss from Mark Smith to Marques Nelson with 16.5 seconds left gave the seventh ranked Pittsburg State Gorillas a 21-14 win over Missouri Southern tonight in the Miners Bowl in Pittsburg.
Southern (2-1, 0-1 MIAA) moved the ball to their own 42 on its first possession, before punting away. The Lion defense came up strong on Pitt’s first possession, and forced the Gorillas to a three and out and a quick punt. Southern then had their most productive drive of the first half as Renard Johnson had runs of 10 and 23 yards, his second to the PSU nine yard line. The Lions, however, would fumble the ball for their first turnover of the half.
PSU (3-0, 1-0 MIAA) took the ball and drove to the Southern one yard line before the first quarter ended. The Gorillas’ Caleb Ferabi then took the first play of the second quarter and dove over the goal line to give Pitt a 7-0 lead. Both teams would trade possessions and turnovers in the half as the extremely wet weather caused five turnovers between the two teams, two for Southern and three for Pitt.
The Southern defense stopped two Pitt State drives coming out of the locker room and on the Lions’ second possession of the half, Southern got on the board. After rushes from Toderick Hunt and Johnson moved the ball to the Southern 36, Hinspeter hooked up with Korie Henrie for a 39 yard catch over the middle to move the Lions to the Pitt State 25 yard line. Hinspeter then hit Isaac Norman on the next play for a 25-yard score to tie the game at seven.
After a Pitt State punt put the Lions at their own five yard line, the Lions fumbled the ball and Pitt capitalized with a touchdown pass from Smith to Nelson to put the Gorillas up 14-7 with just under three minutes left in the third quarter.
Another Pitt State Fumble gave the Lions the ball back and Southern would use a pass from Hinspeter to Henry and a two yard touchdown run from Johnson to tie the game at 14 with just under three minutes left.
A kick out of bounds gave PSU the ball on the 40. Smith and the Gorillas drove the length of the field and a touchdown pass to Nelson, with 16 seconds remaining gave PSU the 21-14 win.
Southern out gained the Gorillas 331-283 on the night, but eight penalties for 60 yards hampered the Lions from the get-go.
Hinspeter was 14-31 for 176 yards and a touchdown on the night. Johnson had 17 carries for 82 yards and a score. Henrie caught three passes for 62 yards, while Norman had 52 yards over three receptions and a touchdown. Skyler Vandiver led the Lions with 11 tackles on the night, while Corderial Collier had nine tackles, an interception and a pass break-up. Antwan Dyer and Jared Brawner had nine and eight tackles, respectively.