Pittsburg St. tops Delta St. 49-23 in D-II semis
PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP)
Pittsburg State scored 21 points in the final 2:44 of the first half en route to a 49-23 victory Saturday over Delta State in the NCAA Division II semifinals.
The Gorillas (12-1) will meet Wayne State in the championship game Dec. 17 in Florence, Ala.
Pittsburg State turned a close game into a rout at the end of the first half, scoring three touchdowns and taking advantage of two turnovers by the Statesmen (11-3). Zac Dickey threw TD passes of 30 yards to Jon Thomas and 38 yards to John Brown, and receiver Andrew Castaneda hit Levi Kuntzsch for a 36-yard score.
''We have a very determined team and they love to play the game,'' Pittsburg State coach Tim Beck said. ''We don't have to do a whole lot other than give them some direction as coaches and make sure that we're sound in what we do. Our leadership has been phenomenal.''
Brown also scored on a 43-yard punt return just 1:32 into the game, and the Gorillas got their final TD on a 91-yard interception return by Paul Robinson. Brown gained 213 all-purpose yards - 80 yards on four receptions, 76 yards on kick returns and 51 yards on punt returns.
''As soon as I caught it, it was like an open lane and wide open space,'' Brown said of the punt return. ''I hit the hole and when I looked up the only person I saw was Nate (Dreiling), so I just went into the end zone.''
Micah Davis completed 27 of 58 passed for 365 yards and a touchdown for Delta State, but was intercepted three times. Chance Dennis had 11 receptions for 131 yards, and Erick Clayton had 95 yards on four catches, including a 35-yard TD with 29 seconds left in the game.
The Statesmen outgained Pittsburg State 465-450 but couldn't overcome six turnovers and the Gorillas' long return touchdowns.
Pittsburg State overcame five turnovers and had 246 yards rushing to just 58 for Delta State. The Gorrillas got rushing touchdowns of 1 yard from Mandel Dixon and 25 yards from Jason Spradling.
Dickey threw for 168 yards and two scores while completing 12 of 22 passes, and added 55 yards rushing.
Pittsburg State advances to the Division II title game for the fifth time in school history. The Gorillas captured the 1991 national championship and finished as the runner-up in 1992, 1995 and 2004.