Joplin, Mo.. - Three costly interceptions led to all three Pittsburg State touchdowns as the Missouri Southern Football team fell to the Gorillas, 21-13 today in front of 7,738 fans at Fred G. Hughes Stadium in the Sonic Miners Bowl.
Southern (1-4, 1-3 MIAA) has now lost 16 games in a row to the Gorillas (3-3, 1-3 MIAA) with the Lions' last win coming in 1993 when Rod Smith and Southern captured the MIAA title.
Pitt just barely out-gained the Lions (372-365) as Southern rushed for 185 yards and passed for 180 in quarterback Roland Thompson's first collegiate start. Only one of Pitt's three scoring drives started in their own territory as favorable field position helped PSU throughout the game.
Johnny Johnson rushed for 72 yards, while Toderick Hunt had 63 and a score. Daniel Thompson had 73 yards receiving with a score, and 19 yards on two rushes on the ground. Roland Thompson went 16-34 for 180 yards and a score, and rushed for 41 yards, as well.
Dusty Bratzler led the Lions' defense with 14 tackles and 1.5 for a loss. Nick Teer had nine stops, while Justin Cowper and Richard Williams had eight each. The Lions had six pass breakups and one quarterback hurry.
Neither team scored in the first quarter, as both teams gained seven first downs and split the time of possession nearly down the middle. The Gorillas got on top first with a three yard run from Eric Love. The Lions answered right back and with good field position, capped off a 12 play, 55-yard drive that resulted in a Hunt touchdown run to tie the game at the half.
Pitt went ahead 14-7 after a three-yard run from Cardell Clemons and took a 21-7 lead late in the fourth quarter as quarterback Jeff Smith connected with Kendall Fisher for an 11-yard touchdown catch, the only scoring drive for PSU that started in its own territory.
The Lions cut the lead to 21-13 with 1:44 left in the game when Roland Thompson hit Daniel Thompson for a 13-yard score, but the extra point was missed to make the final tally 21-13.
Southern will be back in action next week when the Lions travel to Maryville to take on sixth ranked Northwest Missouri at 1:00 pm.