PITTSBURG, Kan. - Central Missouri played Pittsburg State (9-1, 9-1 MIAA) to a draw for nearly 58 minutes. With two minutes remaining, the Gorillas broke a 31-all tie with a 23 yard Jamal Tyler touchdown run and kept the Mules out of the endzone to spoil the upset bid for UCM with a 38-31 win.

The loss halts the Mules six game winning streak, and drops their record to 7-3 (7-3 MIAA).

UCM did not get off on the right foot to begin the game. The Gorillas needed just one play to score on their first possession, a 75-yard catch and run by Marquise Cushon, putting UCM down seven less than a minute into the game.

The Gorillas would put the Mules down 14 before the end of the first quarter as they drove 75 yards on nine plays, capped off by a one-yard touchdown pass from Anthony Abenoja to Kyle Swartz.

The Mules answered though on the ensuing drive, taking the ball 66 yards in just 1:47 to cut the lead in half, 14-7. Hayden Hawk converted on a third-and-six with a pass to LaVance Taylor, then finished the drive with a 12-yard TD rush, his eighth of the season.

Just seven seconds later, the Mules knotted the score at 14-apiece on Josh Powell's 20-yard interception return. It was Powell's first interception and touchdown this season.

On the Gorilla's ensuing drive, Abenoja again was intercepted, this time by Travion Vaughn, his third this season, and returned 64 yards to the Pittsburg 13 yard line. The drive halted however and UCM came up empty after Jason Peete blocked a Mules field goal attempt.

After the Gorillas missed a field goal of their own, the Mules would take their first lead of the game, marching 76 yards on nine plays in just 1:50. On third and goal from the one, Taylor punched it in for his 15th touchdown this season and first of the game. Taylor racked up 190 yards on the ground, giving him 1,541 for the season.

The UCM defense held strong and Pittsburg missed their second field goal as time expired on the first half, giving the Mules a 21-14 lead at intermission.

On their first possession of the second-half, the Gorillas quickly tied the game at 21-all after a Ramsey Hamilton four-yard rush. Then regained the lead 28-21 after a 10-play 86 yard drive ended with a 47-yard strike from Abenoja to Cushon.

The Mules fought back, tying the game at 28-apiece less than a minute into the fourth quarter. UCM drove 75 yards on 14 plays before Taylor punched in his second TD of the game and 16th on the year. Hawk convereted a pair of third-downs with his legs to keep the drive alive.

UCM's defense came up with their third interception of the afternoon on the Gorillas next drive. Monteze Latimore picked off Abenoja for his third interception this season and returned it 33 yards down to the Pittsburg State 24 yardline.

After a Taylor 18-yard run brought the Mules inside the Gorillas 10, the drive fizzled at the two and UCM settled for a 19-yard Will Mondragon field goal, regaining the lead, 31-28.

After a series of punts, the score remained the same with under 10 minutes left to play. The Mules stopped the Gorillas on third-and-six, but muffed the punt, giving the ball right back to Pittsburg at the UCM 26 yard line.

The Mules defense again held strong, forcing the Gorillas to attempt a long field goal. Connor Frazell knocked it through the uprights from 40 yards out to again tie the game, 31-31.

UCM's next drive stalled and a Garrett Fugate punt pinned the Gorillas back on their own 20-yard line with 5:37 remaining. Utilizing a pair of long passes, the Gorillas found the endzone on a Tyler 23 yard run, reclaiming the lead, 38-31.

With just over two minutes remaining, Hawk was sacked three times on the Mules' final drive as UCM turned the ball over on downs, giving the Gorillas the 38-31 win.

In addition to his rushing touchdown, Hawk added 119 yards through the air on 14-of-32 passing. Sean Gorman was his favorite target, hauling in four passes for 19 yards. Taylor added three receptions for 25 yards to along with his big day on the ground.

Abenoja totaled 428 passing yards, connecting on 26 of 42 pass attempts with three scores and three interceptions. Cushon was the beneficiary of most of those yards, tallying 221 on nine catches. Gavin Lutman added 122 yards and seven receptions.

UCM will finish their regular season Saturday, November 15 at Walton Stadium as they host Fort Hays State for senior day. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 pm.

(Courtesy of UCM Athletics)