PITTSBURG, Kan. -- Sixteenth-ranked Missouri Western capitalized on big plays and miscues by seventh-ranked Pitt State to roll to a stunning 63-14 victory before a record Homecoming crowd of 11,910 fans at Brandenburg Field/Carnie Smith Stadium Saturday.
The Gorillas (5-2, 5-2 MIAA) grabbed an early 7-0 lead when they marched the ball 87 yards on their opening drive of the game with quarterback Tony Abenoja tossing a 6-yard touchdown pass to John Brown.
The Griffons (7-1, 6-1 MIAA) responded by a long pass play with quarterback Travis Partridge hitting running back Michael Hill for a 48-yard score to tie the game just over a minute later.
Partridge added a 64-yard scoring connection to Derek Libby for a 14-7 lead and defensive end David Bass intercepted a batted ball and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown and a 21-7 margin with 11:56 to play in the second quarter.
Partridge tossed two more touchdown passes in the second quarter, hitting Brandon Wright for a 35-yard score two plays after Western stopped a Pitt State drive with a fumble recovery. Reggie Jordan then capped a six-play, 72-yard drive with a seven-yard TD catch with 2:16 remaining in the half.
Following a Pitt State punt with 1:03 to play in the half, the Griffons needed just four plays and 56 seconds to drive 59 yards and punch in a Hill three-yard run for a 42-7 halftime advantage.
Western added two more short-field scores in the third quarter, scoring runs of five and 10 yards by Hill after Pitt State failed to convert a fake punt deep in their territory and the Gorillas were held on downs at their own 33-yard line.
Partridge completed nine of 14 passes for 213 yards and four touchdowns in the game, while Hill added 116 rushing yards and three scores on the ground.
Abenoja completed 23 of 41 passes for 225 yards and added a team-leading 45 yards on the ground for the Gorillas. Brown had a career-best 13 catches for 153 yards.