Mules come up short, 31-21, against Pittsburg State

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) — The Central Missouri Mules suffered their third close loss to a top-10 ranked team, falling 31-21 to 10th-ranked Pittsburg State on Saturday afternoon at Walton Stadium/Kennedy Field, according to a press release.
The game got off to a rough start for UCM (2-4, 1-4 MIAA) when Nate Dreiling intercepted Hayden Hawk on the first play of the game. Four plays later, Anthony Abenoja powered in to the end zone on a 15-yard scamper to put Pittsburg State (6-0, 5-0 MIAA) in front 7-0.
The Mules tied the game on the final play of the first quarter. Hawk hit Tristan McClelland for an eight-yard score on third down to knot the game at 7-all. The Mules converted a fourth down on the drive with an 11-yard completion to Ronrei Lloyd.
UCM struck fast on their second drive of the second quarter. After a third down completion to Lloyd gave UCM a first down. Hawk found Lloyd streaking down the right sideline for a 73-yard score to put the Mules in front 14-7.
The Gorillas wasted no time in tying the game at 14. Abenoja hit John Brown for gains of 17 and 35 on a six-play, 67-yard drive, then hit him for five more and a touchdown to tie the game with a minute to play in the second quarter.
Central Missouri fumbled the ensuing pooch kickoff and PSU recovered. Five plays later Abenoja hit Conner Combes for a one-yard score to put the Gorillas in front 21-14 at halftime.
The Gorillas extended their lead to 28-14 on their second drive of the second half. Abenoja hit Brown for a 30-yard scoring strike to give PSU a two touchdown cushion.
Hawk found Lloyd for a 56-yard gain on the first play of the ensuing drive and UCM was in business, but on 3rd and 12 from the Gorilla 14, Hawk was sacked and the Gorillas recovered his fumble. PSU drove inside the UCM five and was about to go up by three scores when Jeff Seybold fumbled on the two and Tevin Teamer recovered.
UCM went on an 11-play, 98-yard drive capped off by a Hawk to McClelland 16-yard touchdown to pull within 28-21. The Gorillas answered the UCM score with another scoring drive of their own. PSU drove to in to the UCM red zone and came away with a 28-yard Connor Frazell field goal to go up 31-21 and put the game out of reach.
Hawk finished 24 of 43 for 362 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Lloyd hauled in eight passes for 176 yards, his fifth straight 100-yard receiving game, and a touchdown. McClelland had five catches for 72 yards and two scores.
Lloyd has moved into eighth place all-time at UCM with 1,692 receiving yards and a tie for ninth with 14 receiving touchdowns.
The Mules were held to 59 yards rushing on 27 carries and totaled 421 yards of offense.
Ricky Spratley led the defense with 13 tackles and Alex Perlin finished with 12. Adrian Perricone had five tackles, a quarterback sack and an interception.
The Gorillas racked up 510 yards of total offense, 220 on the ground and 290 through the air. Abenoja was 20 of 30 for 290 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. He also rushed for 64 yards and a score. Seybold rushed 22 times for 90 yards.
Brown had 12 catches for 199 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, Dreiling had eight tackles, two tackles for loss and an interception. Taye Irvin had five stops, 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery.
The Mules look to snap their two-game skid next Saturday when they travel to Edmond, Okla. to take on Central Oklahoma. Kickoff at Wantland Stadium is set for 1 p.m. The game can be heard live on the new 44,000-watt 98.5 The Bar, 1450 KOKO and with Shawn Jones, UCM Athletic Hall of Famer Bill Turnage and Greg Hassler.