The top-ranked and defending national champion Pittsburg State Gorillas scored the game’s final 13 points Saturday and beat the Central Missouri Mules 30-21 in Pittsburg, Kan.
The MIAA football game was close into the fourth quarter when the Mules took their first lead on quarterback Colter Smith’s 1-yard only 6 seconds into the fourth.
Aaron Jamieson’s PAT gave the Mules a 21-17 lead. He went 3 for 3 on extra-point attempts.
Pittsburg State’s Mandel Dixon scored on a 1-yard run with 11:25 left, and Brady Letchworth hauled in a 2-yard pass from Anthony Abenoja for a TD with 6:20 remaining.
Anthony Abenoja completed 23 of 38 passes for 336 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Connor Frazell missed the extra point on the go-ahead touchdown but made the next one. He made 3 of 4 PATs.
The Gorillas (5-0 overall, 5-0 MIAA) took a 14-0 lead in the first half. Abenoja completed a 13-yard TD pass to John Brown for a 7-0 lead, and Trezz Tillman scored from the 1 to put them ahead 14-0 with 8:48 left in the second quarter.
Brown finished with a team-high 157 yards receiving on nine catches. Luke Rampy added nine catches for 144 yards for the Gorillas.
Smith’s 12-yard touchdown run with 1:43 remaining in the first half sliced Pittsburg State’s lead to 14-7.
Smith rushed 14 times for 53 yards and two touchdowns and went 16 for 32 for 256 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions through the air.
The Mules (4-2, 4-2) tied the score at 14 on LaVance Taylor’s 15-yard scoring run with 9:31 left in the third quarter.
Taylor rushed for a team-high 69 yards on 16 carries.
Jason Spradling rushed for a game-high 134 yards on 18 carries for the Gorillas.
Frazell made a 32-yard field with 3:08 left in the third to put the Gorillas ahead 17-14.
Ronrei Lloyd paced the Mules with 123 yards receiving on eight catches.
The Mules will host Central Oklahoma at 1:30 p.m. Saturday as part of their homecoming activities.