The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

December 7, 2013

Gorillas win Mineral Water Bowl 90-28

EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. — The Pittsburg State Gorillas packed a playoff run’s worth of scoring into one bowl game on Saturday.

Pitt State scored 42 straight first-half points and rolled to a 90-28 win over Southwest Minnesota State in the Mineral Water Bowl.

The win gives the Gorillas a 10-2 record — the school’s 20th 10-win season — and lets the PSU senior class become the first at the school to end each of their four seasons with a win since 1933-36.

Pitt State’s 90 points, 666 yards of offense and 10 offensive touchdowns were all Mineral Water Bowl records, as was Anthony Abenoja’s five passing TDs.

Nate Dreiling, who was banged up in Pitt State’s last game, played long enough to register two tackles and become the career MIAA leader in tackles. He finishes his career with 491 tackles, two more than Marti Rave, who played for Northeast Missouri State in the late 1970s.

Pitt State led 17-14  after the Mustangs’ Charlie Kern hit Anthony Dean for a 74-yard touchdown pass with 55 seconds left in the first quarter. Jeff Seybold’s 55-yard touchdown just 53 seconds later sparked the Gorillas’ 42-point outburst.

The streak also included four straight touchdown passes from Abenoja — to Austin Daniel, Gavin Lutman, Conner Combes and John Brown — before Tyler Disney returned an interception 99 yards for a touchdown that made it 59-14 late in the second quarter.

Disney was named the game’s defensive MVP and finished with 12 tackles to break the 100-tackle mark for the season.

Abenoja, the game’s offensive MVP, accounted for six touchdowns, hitting 17 of his 24 passes for 323 yards and five scores while rushing for 51 yards and a TD. The junior ends the season with 2,954 yards and 30 touchdowns.

Brown wrapped up his stellar Pitt State career by catching seven passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns. He finishes the season with 1,198 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Seybold, a sophomore, rushed 16 times for 185 yards and a score. He finishes the season with 1,451 yards and 22 touchdowns and averaged 7.1 yards per carry on the year.

The Gorillas used their usual balanced attack to gain their 666 yards of offense — 343 rushing and 323 passing.

SMSU running back Tyler Tonderum, a Harlon Hill finalist, rushed 26 times  for 166 yards and a touchdown, a 15-yarder that made it 10-7 with 5:04 in the first quarter.

Pitt State held Kern to just 13 completions in 41 attempts for 161 yards.

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