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Aaron Heintzelman

MIAA - Dream Season ends in nightmare as 'Cats fall asleep in Jungle

Rating: 4 votes, 4.75 average.
The first time around, Northwest Missouri jumped up 21-0 and 28-6 at halftime before Pittsburg State came back for a last-minute win.

This time, in the national quarterfinals, the Bearcats jumped up 10-0 in the first qaurter, but in the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle, the Bearcats fell asleep.

Save a 1-play, 28 yard drive in the fourth quarter, the Gorillas scored 41 straight points and walked away with a 41-16 victory.

I've never been one to shy away from being critical, especially against Pitt State.

Well Northwest Missouri. It's your turn.

What happened Bearcats? Things were going so good; Pitt State started the game with two straight three-and-outs and Northwest was getting the ball close to midfield nearly every possession.

I'll tell you what happened. John Brown happened. The wide-receiver/kick returner/super hero scored three touchdowns on passes from Zac Dickey, two long strikes down the sideline and a third late on a fourth down fade route.

I get it. John Brown is good. He might just be the best player in the MIAA right now. So maybe the Bearcats should have COVERED HIM.

And Dickey absolutely deserves some credit. The dual-threat quarterback, for only the second time all year, threw for more than 200 yards AND rushed for more than 100 (the other time he did this came in Pitt's other win against Northwest).

His 266 yards and three touchdown passes were both season highs and despite another slow start for the Gorillas, he came through in huge ways all game long.

And then there was Trevor Adams. The sophomore from Texas who shined last week in front of family and friends at Midwestern State never could get it going in the rain. But frankly, I don't want to hear that as an excuse, because you know what? It was raining when Pitt State had the ball too!

Adams finished just 5 for 16 for 58 yards. Blake Christopher, who held on the first extra point of the game but did not start under center despite dressing for the first time in several weeks, came in in the second half when the game was already pretty much out of hand and didn't fare much better, going 6 for 11 with the 28-yard touchdown pass and two interceptions.

And it's certinaly not just the defense. Where did the offense go? After building that 10-0 lead, the Bearcats had SIX non-scoring drives of three plays or less that included four punts and two interceptions. A seventh one-play drive ended the first half and an eighth was the aforementioned touchdown midway throug the fourth quarter.

On both sides of the ball, the Bearcats looked plan flat today. They lacked their normal luster and when things got dicey in the fourth quarter, when the Bearcats normall turn on the heat, they simply fizzled through the motions of the rest of the game and watched as Pitt State moved on to the national semifinals.

You're too good for that Northwest Missouri, or are you? Was the last two weeks a fluke? Are you as bad as you looked in parts of the miracle comeback victories and for most of this game? Okay, probably not, but your perfomance leaves a lot of unanswered questions.

Now as bad as the Bearcats were, the Gorillas were just as good. After a slow fourth quarter, they scored on seven of 10 possessions, and unlike last week when an 11-minute drive helped seal the deal, it was relatively quick strikes that helped pave the way to victory.

What's next?

The Gorillas now move on to play Delta State, a team that spent much of the year at No. 1 in the country after beating then-No. 1 North Alabama (both teams play in the GSC).

I don't know a whole heck of a lot about DSU except they love to win close football games, are especailly prone to scoring in the last minute to win and they are the defending national runners-up, having lost on a last-minute field goal last year to champion Duluth.

As to where the game will be remains to be seen. The NCAA reseeds the four teams left over, so the fact Delta is a No. 1 in SR2 and Pitt is a No. 2 in SR4 isn't relevant. DSU does have two losses, but one of them came against an FCS team, and that doesn't factor into playoff seeding.

In situations like this, where the teams are relatively close, the NCAA can look at what team would make a better host, but Delta and Pitt both have fine stadiums and great fan bases. Pitt does draw slightly higher numbers on a more regular basis, but I'm not sure that will play a big factor in the decision.

I'll keep you posted on the location and time of next week's game.

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Updated 12-03-2011 at 05:30 PM by Aaron Heintzelman

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Comments

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  1. PittStatePOTPMB's Avatar
    So, this is my first post, and i wanna start off by saying, Aaron, great job. My first foray into football blogs has been most enjoyable.

    Now, as a member of the marching band, I think we deserve a little credit. Two times, in as many weeks, a top tier team with a potent offense has marched down to the one yard line, and been held to less than a touchdown. The endzone that both teams got stuffed in just happened to be the one that we were sitting behind. Coincidence? I think not.
  2. PittStatePOTPMB's Avatar
    Now, I don't wanna take away from the D, because without them steppung up, a confused Bearkitty/Ichaboy offense is still good enough to score; I just think we made enough noise to make a difference.
  3. Give Em' Six's Avatar
    Aaron--I thought you were supposed to be watching this game from Topeka. Yeah, Pitt State layed a giant egg during the regular Season matchup against Washburn, but for the most part our DEFENSE has played lights out. It seems like your predictions have been based upon that game. Here's hoping our magical march continues and you continue to sell the Gorillas short.
  4. Predatory Primates's Avatar
    NW did not fall asleep. They were put to sleep.
  5. pittstate85's Avatar
    Aaron, you need to shake off the NW homerism. What happened was that NW brought their best effort, had some early success, then Pitt made adjustments (as good teams do) on both sides of the ball, and NW had no answer. NW was out-coached and out-played, period.
  6. Gorilla Guy's Avatar
    Grudging respect for the Gorillas is better than no respect. We totally shut down NWMS without our best defensive player, linebacker Luke Stringer, in the game. Quite a testament to the scheme. I don't know why Stringer didn't suit up but I hope he is ready for Delta. The fact that Pitt didn't turn the ball over, punted terrifically except for one shank, and hung onto several key passes in the worst of conditions is saying something. The Gorillas deserve the home game next weekend!!!
  7. Predatory Primates's Avatar
  8. whiteokra's Avatar
    Looking forward to the contest. We want to stay away from the "Jungle," if at all possible. Statesmen Park is calling the Gorillas name. With that said, I had a good experience in the "Jungle" in 2005. A man named Eyster did too. You think Andy Majors will come to the reunion game?
  9. Gorilla Guy's Avatar
    Word around campus in Pitt is it was announced Pitt will host the Delta game. Anyone else heard that, officially or otherwise?
  10. psukegreen's Avatar
    Its official its in the jungle! Tickets go on sale tomorrow morning.
  11. Gorilla Guy's Avatar
    This from Delta State site. Night game at Pitt on ESPN. GO GORILLAS!!!!

    The NCAA Division II National Championship Football Committee announced on Saturday night that the No. 8 ranked Delta State University Statesmen (11-2), champions of Super Region II, will travel to the No. 6 ranked Pittsburg State University Gorillas (11-1) on Saturday, Dec. 10. Kickoff is set for 6:05 p.m. from Carnie Smith Stadium and the game will be televised by ESPN.
  12. Gorilla Guy's Avatar
    Sorry Predatory, I didn't realize your link was to the Pitt announcement about next Saturday's game vs. Delta at Pitt. After standing in the rain the last two games at Carnie, I wonder what the weather holds for next weekend. Someone said snow! Awesome.
  13. whiteokra's Avatar
    See you Sat.
  14. Gorilla Guy's Avatar
    Bring your snowsuit, whiteokra. And your A-game. You will need it against a hot Gorilla side. Welcome (back) to the Jungle!!!
  15. Gorilla Guy's Avatar
    What's with Eblem not allowing comments on his national blog. Can't handle being called out on your prediction that NWSM would beat Pitt today, and then they got slaughtered? What a chump. At least Aaron can hande the heat, right or wrong.
  16. whiteokra's Avatar
    Snow? No way! Quick question. May I borrow a "snowsuit?"
    Updated 12-04-2011 at 12:53 AM by whiteokra
  17. GreenwoodBearcat's Avatar
    Taking nothing away from an excellent Pitt State squad, NW simply was not on their game today, and that happens in football. The same could be said for the 1st meeting of WU vs Pitt. Congrats to Pitt on the win yesterday, and thanks Aaron for the exellent job you did year covering MIAA Football...
  18. pittstate4evr's Avatar
    Whether NW would win or lose it is a sure thing this column will be mostly about NW. Title should be Dream season continues for PittState. No matter now,WE play on. The winner is always the one who has their game on NW didn't end of story. No other excuses.
  19. pittstate4evr's Avatar
    Next. Zac & John made great plays BUT they would be the 1st to tell anyone that if it was't for the whole team work & coaches they wouldn't be able to accomplish what they do and that includes the band & fans. WE ALLL are a TEAM!! Oh. Current forecast Sat. High32. Low 23. 20% snow
  20. Gorilla Guy's Avatar
    Good post pittstate4evr! I wish I could buy tickets today! Any idea why Stringer didn't suit up yesterday and whether he will play this Saturday?
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