Brown leaves Lincoln feeling blue

Pittsburg State wide receiver John Brown hauls in one of his four touchdown catches, just out of reach of Lincoln defensive back Brian Smith, late in the second quarter of Saturday's game at Dwight T. Reed Stadium.

Pittsburg State wide receiver John Brown hauls in one of his four touchdown catches, just out of reach of Lincoln defensive back Brian Smith, late in the second quarter of Saturday's game at Dwight T. Reed Stadium. Photo by Kris Wilson.

What can (John) Brown do for you? Just about everything, it seems.

The Pittsburg State senior wide receiver scored five touchdowns, racked up 294 all-purpose yards, broke one school record and tied three others as the No. 12 Gorillas came out on top of a shootout with the Lincoln Blue Tigers, taking a 59-38 victory Saturday afternoon at Dwight T. Reed Stadium.

“Their best player beat us today,” Lincoln head coach Mike Jones said. “John Brown is a heck of a football player. We have to do a better job as coaches of putting our guys in position to make plays.”

Brown caught nine passes for 237 yards and four touchdowns, rushed twice for 12 yards and a score, and returned a pair of punts for 45 yards.

“He has great lateral change of direction and he has great upfront speed,” Jones said. “When this guy takes off he can run past guys and he can make guys miss.”

Brown broke the all-time Pittsburg State receiving record on his fourth reception of the game early in the second quarter, a 13-yard catch. Ronnie West set the mark with 2,521 yards back in the early 1990s. Brown currently sits at 2,722 yards. He also tied program benchmarks in career receiving touchdowns (27), single-game touchdown receptions and single-game total touchdowns.

“It means a lot because I’ve talked to Ronnie West before and when I first met him I told him I was going to break his record,” Brown said. “It feels good to do what you talk about. I tried not to smile about it because we were still taking care of business, but at the end I was just happy.

“I expect (this performance) every week. I treat everyone the same, no matter who we’re playing, no matter what their record is.”

While Brown was busy setting records, the two offenses were busy doing their own thing. The teams combined for 97 points and 1,295 total yards.

Pittsburg State had only allowed 37 combined points in its first three wins before Lincoln’s 38-point performance.

“Without a doubt (I’m happy with what I saw from our offense),” Jones said. “It starts with our offensive line. They do a great job of protecting, opening up holes. We have some guys who can score. (Quarterback) Jake (Morris) made some wise decisions, got the ball to the right people. Khiry and Morris are big playmakers. If we get the ball in those guys’ hands we have a chance to score points.

“We scored 38 points, we need to do a better job of stopping people. If we score 38 points, we have to figure out a way to get them less than 38. We didn’t do a good job on defense.”

Brown opened the scoring with a 9-yard touchdown reception from Anthony Abenoja six minutes into the contest.

Lincoln proceeded to drive the ball down to the Pittsburg State 1 on its next possession before being stuffed twice at the goal line. Pittsburg State then drove 99 yards for a score, capped by Jeff Seybold’s 1-yard run three minutes into the second period.

“That was a 14-point turnaround,” Jones said. “Instead of it being 7-7, it’s 14-0.”

Brown added his second touchdown midway through the quarter on a 29-yard pass from Abenoja to make it 21-0.

Lincoln got on the board at the 5:23 mark of the frame when Morris hit Draine for a 55-yard touchdown pass. Andrew Fishel booted a 28-yard field that made it 28-10 minutes later.

Brown got No. 3 with a 29-yard touchdown catch on a fourth-and-10 play with 24 seconds left before halftime.

Abenoja hit Levi Kuntzsch for a 20-yard touchdown pass that made it 35-10 early in the third before Lincoln’s Henderson rumbled 61 yards for a score 38 seconds later to make it 35-17.

The shootout continued when Brown reeled in a 56-yard touchdown catch from Abenoja, his fifth such toss of the contest, with 9:18 to go in the third.

Henderson then got his second score from 2 yards out at the 7:42 mark to make it 42-24. Connor Frazell’s 22-yard field goal made it 45-24 after three periods.

Draine hauled in a 34-yard touchdown from Morris a minute into the final period to get Lincoln within 14.

Pittsburg State responded with two scores to put the game out of reach. Seybold dashed in from 56 yards out before Brown scored again, this time on a 7-yard run.

Isam Pegues capped the scoring when the Blue Tiger back busted in from a yard out with 8:37 to go.

The 21-point loss for the Blue Tigers signals remarkable improvement, as Lincoln lost by 42 and 63 points, respectively, the last two seasons against Pittsburg State.

“We’re not into moral victories,” Jones said. “We played them better than we’ve ever played them since I’ve been here. But we had a mindset of if we did what we were supposed to — offense, defense and special teams — we had a chance to win the game. I really believe that.

“At times we played in spurts where we were just as good as they were. We have to play all the time like that. That’s one thing we’re trying to get to as a team, of getting our guys to play every single play the best they can. When that happens, you can see what we can do. We can be a pretty good team.”

Pittsburg State moves to 4-0 overall and in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. Lincoln (1-3, 0-3 MIAA) hosts Emporia State next Saturday for Homecoming.

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