Mules face off with No. 1 Gorillas

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Story by Jason Strickland, Sports Editor
The Mules football team plays the top-ranked and defending national championship team on the road Saturday, but it is business as usual for senior safety Patrick Lewis.
“We know it’s a huge game,” Lewis said. “We are playing the number one team in the nation. It’s at their place. They’ve got a great stadium and a great fan base, but it’s still opponent six. We try to prepare to play our best football every week.”
Pittsburg State (4-0, 4-0) leads the MIAA in scoring offense, but Lewis said the Mules defense, which is sixth in the conference in total defense, can be successful this week.
“It’s about the same thing as every week,” Lewis said. “As long as we read our keys and play smart assignment football, we don’t think they can beat us.”
Even though the Mules defense is towards the middle of the pack in total defense, it is third in the MIAA it takeaways.
“I have been real happy with the play of our defense,” head coach Jim Svoboda said. “We did a good job at taking the ball away last week. We are very good against the run this year, and we are playing well as a unit.”
A player to watch for Pitt State is junior wide receiver John Brown, who leads the MIAA in all-purpose yards, punt return average, kick return average and is third in receiving yards per game.
“He’s definitely a guy you are aware of and he has tremendous speed,” Svoboda said.  “He’s a good all-around athlete. They try to give him the ball in a lot of different ways.”
As for the Pitt State defense, it is first in the MIAA in total defense.
“They play fast and they’ve got a great tradition at Pitt for playing good defense,” Svoboda said. “The last couple of years looks like the old Pitt defenses that I remember back when I was at Northwest Missouri. Our goal is to try to control the tempo, and keep the defense off balance by mixing up our play selection and try to play fast.”
The Gorillas lead the all-time series with the Mules 39-8-2, including wins in six of the past 10. Saturday’s game kicks off at 2 p.m.