Story and photo courtesy of Pittsburg State Athletics
- Senior quarterback Zac Dickey tossed three second-half touchdown passes to sophomore wide receiver John Brown as No. 7 Pitt State defeated No. 10 NW Missouri State Saturday (Dec. 3) in the NCAA Division II national quarterfinals.
The victory sends the MIAA champion Gorillas (11-1) into the NCAA semifinals where they will meet No. 8 Delta State next Saturday (Dec. 10). The Statesmen (11-2) defeated No. 20 North Greenville (11-3), 28-23, Saturday. Both schools now await word from the NCAA on the site location for next week's game.
Dickey, who completed 12 of 25 passes for 266 yards in the game, broke open a 10-10 game by hitting Brown in stride for a 78-yard score with 8:11 to play in the third quarter.
Brown, who hauled in six catches for 174 yards in the contest, added a 42-yard score with 3:10 to play in the period, giving Pitt State a two-touchdown advantage against Northwest (11-3).
Senior place kicker Chase McCoy added a 25-yard field goal to make it a 27-10 game with 13:48 to play in the game, and freshman H-back Mandel Dixon slammed into the end zone from a yard out and a 34-10 advantage with 9:34 to go.
The Bearcats, who posted back-to-back road wins in the first two rounds of the playoffs, answered with a quick strike with back-up quarterback Blake Christopher tossing a 28-yard touchdown pass to James Franklin to make it a 34-16 game 23 second later.
Brown iced the game, however, with a 15-yard scoring grab on a 4th-and-4 play with 3:13 remaining.
The Gorillas piled up 527 yards of total offense in the contest, including 261 yards on the ground.
Dickey rushed 20 times for a game-high 147 yards, finishing the contest with 413 yards of total offense. He eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark in the game to join the elite 1,000 - 1,000 run-pass club.
The Pitt State defense surrendered 125 rushing yards in the first quarter, falling behind 10-0, but the Gorillas stiffened and held the potent Bearcats to 15 carries for 20 net rushing yards the rest of the way. Northwest finished the game with just 297 yards of total offense.
Sophomor starter Trevor Adams and Christopher combined to complete just 11 of 27 passes for 152 yards with two interceptions. Franklin rushed for 43 yards and a score to go along with his receiving touchdown.
Senior defensive end Gus Toca made eight tackles, including 2.5 TFLs, to lead the Gorillas. Sophomore linebacker Nate Dreiling also had eight stops and a fourth-quarter interception.
Pitt State advances to the Division II semifinals for the sixth time in school history. The Gorillas captured the 1991 NCAA-II National Championship and finished as national runner-up in 1992, 1995 and 2004. Pitt State also reached the national semifinals in 1990.