It was a wild one in Olathe, Kan., on Saturday as the Peru State football team pulled out a 41-38 double overtime win over the MidAmerica Nazarene University Pioneers.
With the win, the 19th-ranked Bobcats improved to 5-1 overall and 3-1 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC). The Pioneers fell to 1-4 overall and 1-3 in conference play. In their four losses, MNU's foes have a combined record of 19-4 and all are ranked in the NAIA's Top 25.
This was Peru State's first win over the Pioneers in three tries.
Peru State scored the first 28 points of the game. Just when it appeared the 'Cats could go into halftime with a shutout, a blocked punt was recovered in the end zone by MNU making it 28-7. This apparently gave the Pioneers a little momentum as they scored the next 21 points to tie it at 28-28 at the end of the third quarter.
Both teams scored in the fourth quarter with Peru State regaining the lead, only to see MNU respond. Peru State’s final drive of regulation stalled short of field goal range and the contest headed to overtime.
Peru State had the ball first in overtime and managed a field goal to lead 38-35. The Pioneers made it to Peru State's five-yard line before they had two consecutive losses of yards, forcing them to eventually try to a field goal to tie it at 38-38.
On it’s second overtime possesion, MNU completed a 23-yard pass to put the ball on the Bobcats' two-yard line, but ended up fumbling. Syracuse-Dunbar-Avoca grad Jon Draeger jumped on the loose ball for the Bobcats, thus setting up the game-winning points.
Nate Tromblee rushed the ball to the MNU 11-yard line After losing yardage, Ethan Bray had carries of seven and two yards to move the ball to the Pioneers' six-yard line.
MNU tried to ice the Bobcats' field goal kicker, Greg Conry’s 23-yard field goal out of the hold of Mitch Boshart Wood River gave the Bobcats a 41-38 win.
Turning to team stats, Peru State had 28 first downs compared to MNU's 21. Of the Bobcats' 28 first downs, 22 came by rushing.
The Bobcats finished with 505 total yards, with 438 of those yards coming on the ground. The Pioneers had 425 total yards, as they gained most of their yards through the air with 318 yards. Peru State held the Pioneers to 107 yards rushing.
While the Bobcats did lose the turnover battle, two to one, Peru State did benefit by only having two penalties for 15 yards compared to MNU's eight flags for 72 yards.
Bray had a career-high 34 rushes for 162 yards and two touchdowns with his longest run being 16 yards. Tyler Audsley finished with 135 net yards and also had two touchdowns. Peru State almost had three players over 100 yard rushing as Marcus Spearman finished with 88 yards on nine carries. Tromblee had 56 yards on nine carries and the other Bobcat rushing touchdown.
Page 2 of 2 - Special teams wise, Conry punted six times, most of the time into the wind, for 151 yards, averaging 25.2 yards. However, Conry did have two field goals, both in overtime for 23 and 24 yards. In kickoffs, Conry kicked six times for 293 yards, averaging 48.8 and had one touchback.
Defensively, Shane Lloyd had nine total tackles, including a sack and two tackles for losses. In addition, Lloyd had one pass break up and two forced fumbles, the last being perhaps the biggest play of the game.
Cody Piotrowski had five solo tackles, one sack for seven yards, two tackles for losses of eight yards, and one pass break-up. Garrett Campbell had five total tackles, four solo, while Curtis Larsen and Cody Sullivan each were credited with five total tackles. Larsen also had four solo tackles and was credited with one-half a sack and tackle for a loss. Sullivan had three solo tackles, one tackle for a loss of four yards, and broke up one pass.
Jake Kelley, Zach Lempka, Draeger, and Matt O'Neill all were credited with tackles for losses.
Player of the week
Peru State Kicker/Punter Greg Conry was named the Heart of America Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Week. Conry joined Benedictine College running back Cameron Fore and Baker University linebacker Darrick Smith, who were chosen as the HAAC Offensive and Defensive Players of the week (POW) respectively, on Monday afternoon.
With its double overtime win over MidAmerica Nazarene University on Saturday, the Peru State College Bobcat football team moved up to 16th in the 2013 NAIA Football Coaches Top 25 Poll.
Peru State will return to action Saturday for a 1 p.m. game at Falls City against Culver-Stockton College.