EDMOND, Okla.—Jared Vincent converted a 20-yard field goal as time expired to give Pittsburg State a 37-35 win over Central Oklahoma on Thursday night in the MIAA football season opener at Wantland Stadium.
The Gorillas led 34-7 at halftime, but PSU surrendered 28 unanswered points in the second half as the Bronchos took a 35-34 lead with 3:20 remaining.
Pittsburg State put together an 11-play, 67-yard drive that was capped by the game-winning field goal.
A junior from Claremore, Oklahoma, Vincent was 3-for-3 on field goals in the game, booting a 47-yarder in the first quarter and an 18-yarder in the second.
Pittsburg State recorded 414 yards of total offense, with 270 rushing and 144 passing.
Tyler Adkins ran 17 times for 78 yards with one touchdown, while Brandon Mlekus had 13 carries for 68 yards and Wilbur Cooper ran 12 times for 50 yards and a score. Tucker Horak also had a rushing touchdown. In all, 10 different players had a rushing attempt for PSU.
Pittsburg State’s Mak Sexton completed 10-of-15 passes for 113 yards, while Mlekus completed one pass for 31 yards.
The Gorillas won despite losing four fumbles. Pittsburg State had seven penalties for 40 yards, while UCO was flagged twice for 26 yards.
Morgan Selemaea and Creighton Sanders recorded six tackles apiece to lead the PSU defense, while Webb City product Kaden Roy and Carl Junction graduate Chase Johnston added five tackles apiece.
Central Oklahoma compiled 369 yards of offense, with 212 through the air and 157 on the ground.
Will Collins completed 14-of-24 passes for 212 yards, with Josh Moore and Dustin Basks hauling in touchdown receptions. T.J. Roberts led UCO’s ground attack with 79 yards.
Pittsburg State’s Lorenzo West recorded a 100-yard kickoff return to start the game.
Rushing touchdowns from Cooper, Horak and Adkins, along with the two Vincent field goals, gave the Gorillas a 34-7 cushion at halftime.
The Bronchos scored four unanswered touchdowns in the second half, with Dillon Hall’s 20-yard fumble recovery giving them a one-point lead with 3:20 remaining.
Sexton completed five passes during the final drive before three short gains on the ground by Cooper set up Vincent’s last-second field goal.
Pittsburg State hosts Emporia State at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14 at Carnie Smith Stadium.