Gorillas earn No. 1 ranking

Missouri Southern free safety Bill Baska takes down Pittsburg State University running back Joe Taylor during the third quarter of the Oct. 16 Miner´s Bowl.

Missouri Southern free safety Bill Baska takes down Pittsburg State University running back Joe Taylor during the third quarter of the Oct. 16 Miner´s Bowl.

Jacob W. Brower

PITTSBURG – Lions, players and fans will have to wait another year for a shot at defeating Pittsburg State University.

The Gorillas handed Missouri Southern a 59-7 loss at Carnie Smith Stadium Oct. 16 on the strength of a ground game that saw PSU roll up 387 rushing yards to the Lions’ 28 in front of a near-capacity crowd.

Southern fell to 4-4 overall and 3-3 in the MIAA, while Pitt State improved its record to 8-0 overall and 6-0 in the conference. PSU was ranked second in the nation going into the game, but has moved up to first because No. 1 Grand Valley State lost to No. 23 Saginaw Valley State 31-20 on Saturday.

Southern head coach John Ware said he knew playing PSU would be a challenge and is hoping his team can improve its record over the last three games of the season. The Lions travel to Bolivar to play Southwest Baptist University on Saturday followed by a road game at Emporia (Kan.) State University before wrapping up the season at home against Washburn.

“(Pittsburg State University is) a great football team and they played very hard,” Ware said. “They always do very well and I have a lot of respect for them.”

The team played much of the game without two of its key offensive starters. Sophomore running back Wentric Williams sat out the game with a hip injury, while freshman quarterback Nathan Emert injured his knee in the second quarter and did not return.

Ware said he expects Emert and Williams to be ready to go against SBU.

The game saw PSU break the MIAA record for most points in a season with 539. The previous record was 537 points, held by Northwest Missouri State University 2000 team.

The game ended on a sour note when Southern was given a 10-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when Ware shouted across the field at PSU head coach Chuck Broyles after the Gorillas passed twice on their final series. Earlier in the quarter, PSU passed on three consecutive plays.

The two coaches exchanged words at midfield after the game and a small scuffle between the players ensued, but tempers quickly subsided and the players shook hands.

“They were up 59-7 and they’re throwing the football,” Ware said. “That’s just wrong and I’m not afraid to say it. I’m sure the rest of the conference feels the same way. I’ve been ahead by 60 points in a game and I’ve taken a knee. I think I have a good feel of what’s right and wrong after coaching college football for 20 years, and that’s just not how the game is supposed to be played.”

Broyles defended his actions after the game.

“I’m not going to respond to that,” he said. “Why would I respond to us running the score up? Our second team was in for most of the third quarter and all of the fourth quarter. We have two quarterbacks available [Neal Philpot and Andy Majors] and I’m not going to tell them to take a knee.”

During the first half, Emert completed 22 of 32 passes for 203 yards, a touchdown and an interception, while his replacement, Nick Majors, completed 11 of 19 passes for 115 yards and an interception.

Nate Proctor, filling in for Williams, led the Lions in rushing with 13 carries for 35 yards, while running back Tony Gillespie gained 11 yards on five carries. Proctor also led all Southern receivers with 10 catches for 54 yards and a touchdown, while junior wide receiver Dustin Bromley had four snags for 56 yards.

Other Lions with receptions include wide receiver DeMarcus Mathes (four catches for 27 yards), wideout Tyson Basore (four for 18), tight end Cody Hilburn (three for 53), receiver Craig Winfrey (two for 32), wideout Tedaryl Mason (two for 30), Gillespie (two for 22), tight end Aaron McNealy (one 13-yard catch) and receiver Colin Bado (one 13-yard catch).