It was inevitable. After a perfect season, the ‘Diggers finally lost against top-ranked Pittsburg State University Gorillas 35-70. An NCAA press release reads:
Top-ranked Pittsburg State University jumped out to a 42-7 second-quarter lead then coasted to a 70-35 victory over fifth-ranked Colorado School of Mines in the second round of the NCAA Division II football playoffs Saturday (Nov. 20) before a sellout crowd of 9,409 raucous fans at "The Pitt," Brandenburg Field/Carnie Smith Stadium.
The unbeaten Gorillas (12-0) broke an NCAA-II single-game post-season scoring record, advancing to the national quarterfinals to face fourth-ranked Northwest Missouri State University, a 34-14 winner over third-ranked Texas A&M University-Kingsville. The Gorillas and Bearcats will meet Saturday (Nov. 27) at Noon (CST) at Brandenburg Field/Carnie Smith Stadium.
Pitt State broke the old scoring mark of 65 points set by Grand Valley State University in a 65-36 victory over Bentley College last year.
The Orediggers (12-1) had their unblemished season to a close with the loss. It was just the ninth time in Division II history (since 1973) that two unbeaten teams met on the football field in post-season play.
Senior quarterback Neal Philpot rushed for 143 yards and a touchdown and passed for 105 yards and another score one day after being snubbed by voters from making the eight-man national ballot for the 2004 Harlon Hill Trophy.
Philpot directed the Gorillas to eight touchdown drives in nine possessions under center against the Orediggers as PSU built a 56-21 cushion before he was lifted from the Gorillas’ lineup midway through the third quarter. He became the first quarterback in NCAA history (all levels) to rush and pass for 1,000 yards in a season three times in a career (2001, ’03-04).
Tailback Germaine Race rushed 19 times for 154 yards and three touchdowns, scoring on runs of 2, 7 and 5 yards. Fullback Joe Taylor also scored three touchdowns with runs of 3, 4 and 2 yards.
Pitt State rushed out to a 28-7 first quarter lead to set the tone in the game. The Gorillas scored on their opening drive of the game with nine consecutive rushing plays, punctuated by Race’s 2-yard run with 10:48 to play in the initial period.
CSM matched the Gorillas’ first score with a 10-play, 80-yard drive which was capped by Chad Friehauf’s 1-yard TD pass to Bryan Florendo on 4th-and-goal.
The Gorillas countered with Philpot’s 22-yard scoring run on their next possession, then broke serve when Chad Miller intercepted an errant Friehauf pass at the CSM 23 to set up a 3-yard run by Taylor.
The Pitt State defense then forced a quick three-and-out and Philpot tossed a 35-yard TD pass to Jermaine Carpenter with seven seconds remaining in the first quarter. Linebacker Jimmie Taylor then intercepted Friehauf on CSM’s next possession, giving PSU the ball at the Oredigger 13. Joe Taylor scored three plays later on a 4-yard run to make it 35-7 with 11:36 left in the second quarter.
Pitt State took a 42-14 lead to the intermission, then turned a CSM fumble on the opening kickoff into a third scoring opportunity. Taylor again capped a short, 17-yard drive with a 2-yard run to make it 49-14 a half-minute into the second half.
Friehauf set an NCAA-II single-game post-season record with 45 completions in the game. He was 45 of 53 passing (.849) for 433 yards and three touchdowns with the two interceptions. He rushed 13 times for 52 yards and two scores. Friehauf fumbled once and was sacked three times in the game.
On a completely separate note, my previous blog is refering to a new screen play I’m working on. There was some confusion over that.