Last-second field goal lifts Pitt State over Lions 24-21 in Sonic Miners Bowl
Pittsburg, Kan. -- A 27-yard field goal with two seconds left on the clock from Pittsburg State's Jake Craig lifted the Gorillas over Missouri Southern today 24-21 in the Sonic Miners Bowl at Carnie Smith Stadium in Pittsburg.
The Lions (2-3, 0-3 MIAA) took a 14-7 lead into the fourth, before PSU (3-2, 1-2 MIAA) scored 14 unanswered points on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Zac Dickey to Cardell Clemmons and a 29-yard interception return for a touchdown by David Vaughn.
Southern scored to tie the game at 21 on a 37 yard touchdown pass from Collin Howard to Landon Zerkel, Howard's second touchdown pass of the day, but the Lions failed to move the ball after forcing Pitt to punt late in the fourth quarter.
Punting into a fierce wind, Mark Krause, from his own 10 yard line, got the ball to the Southern 36, setting up the Gorillas' final scoring drive. A 19-yard rush from Terrance Isaac, and another seven yard carry by Isaac put Pitt on the Southern 10 yard line. After a rush for no gain, PSU set up a game-winning 27-yard field goal attempt for Craig. Two timeouts from Southern to try and ice the kicker wouldn't stop Craig as he kicked it home, extending the Gorillas' winning streak over Missouri Southern to 17 games.
Pitt opened the scoring in the first on a one yard scoring run from Briceton Wilson, but the Lions answered back as time expired in the half to tie the score at seven on a five-yard run from Howard.
Southern went ahead at the eight minute mark of the third quarter when Howard hooked up with Ne'Ronte Threatt for a 10-yard pass and score. It marked the first time Southern held a lead over PSU since the 2002 game when a one-yard run from Josh Chapman gave the Lions a 12-7 early lead over PSU in that year's Miner's Bowl.
The Lions' defense came up huge in the first half, forcing turnovers on back-to-back possessions for the Gorillas as Cornell Gedward recovered a fumbled punt by Isaac and Justin Cowper picked up another fumble by Isaac. John Michael Bryant and Brandon Williams would pick up back-to-back sacks midway through the second quarter and Cowper would return an interception 26 yards on the Gorillas' next possession.
The Lions out gained Pitt 340-272, including 192-63 in the air, but three interceptions, resulted in 44 return yards and a touchdown return.
Collin Howard led the Lions in rushing and passing today with 60 yards on 18 carries and a score. He went 15-29 in the air for 192 yards and two scores. Landon Zerkel caught seven passes for 121 yards and a score, while Threatt caught four passes for 51 yards and a score.
Corderial Collier led the Lions with 12 tackles, including a forced fumble. Kenny Smith, Nick Teer, Brandon Williams and Richard Williams all had six tackles a piece, with Brandon Williams picking up two sacks. Cowper had an interception and a fumble recovery, while Bryant had a sack and Gedward added a fumble recovery.
The Lions will be back in action next week when Southern plays host to defending national champion Northwest Missouri at 6 pm in Hughes Stadium.