MIAA - Dream Season ends in nightmare as 'Cats fall asleep in Jungle
by, 12-03-2011 at 03:43 PM (5732 Views)
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.
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.