Gorillas Too Much for ATU in Second Half

An avalanche of 41 unanswered points allowed Pittsburg State University to come from behind and defeat Arkansas Tech University 48-31 in the 2017 Agent Barry Live United Bowl at Texarkana on Saturday.

Michael Rose ran around left end for a 27-yard touchdown run with 7:47 left in the fourth quarter that gave the Gorillas (8-4) their first lead of the day at 34-31.

Pitt State tacked on two more rushing touchdowns in the final 2:41 — a 12-yard scamper by Rose and a 7-yard run by De’Vontae Brown — to set the final score.

Rose was named the bowl game’s most valuable player. He rushed 21 times for 177 yards and three touchdowns.

For most of two quarters, it appeared to be the Wonder Boys’ day.

Arkansas Tech (8-4) took control early by scoring the first 23 points of the game. Eric Perez made a 20-yard field goal with 11:49 left in the first quarter. A pair of Ty Reasnor touchdown passes — one of 61 yards to Terrez Hampton and another of 16 yards to Justin Bailey — helped the Wonder Boys claim a 16-0 lead after one period.

Allen’s 25-yard touchdown run with 14:27 remaining in the second quarter pushed the lead to 23-0.

Pittsburg State took advantage of a short field to go 39 yards in three plays for its first score of the day. Michael Rose covered the final 14 yards with a run at the 10:50 mark of the second quarter, cutting Tech’s lead to 23-7.

The Wonder Boys seemed to reclaim the momentum late in the half with a 13-play, 58-yard scoring drive that resulted in Allen’s second rushing touchdown of the day. His 2-yard run, combined with a 2-point conversion run by Clayton Watson, gave Arkansas Tech a 31-7 edge with 1:03 to go in the second period.

Everything changed for good during the Gorillas’ final possession of the half.

Pitt State turned to its passing attack to pull within 31-14 at the intermission. John Roderique found Brendon Franklin for an 8-yard touchdown pass with 13 seconds on the clock, capping a 75-yard scoring drive that required just 55 seconds to get the Gorillas back in the game.

From there, Pitt State was a freight train that could not be stopped. Roderique threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Lorenzo West with 11:15 left in the third quarter and Keynan Scheurich notched a 12-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the period to reduce Arkansas Tech’s lead to 31-27 going to the fourth quarter.

Rose’s go-ahead touchdown run with 7:41 remaining capped a nine-play, 80-yard scoring drive that made the difference in the game.

Tech’s Allen carried 22 times for 163 yards. He will enter his senior season with 2,711 career rushing yards, fifth-most in school history. The Wonder Boys’ career rushing record is 3,603 yards, which was established by Larry Brown from 1968-71.

Reasnor completed 17-of-37 passes for 212 yards. He completed 62.2 percent of his passes during his senior season, the highest single-season completion percentage in ATU football history. Reasnor’s 21 touchdown passes in 2017 are fourth-most in a single season in school history. He passed for 2,483 yards this year, fifth-most by a Wonder Boy in a single season all-time.

Tech’s Braden Stringer had 72 all-purpose yards in his final collegiate game on Saturday, giving him 3,815 career all-purpose yards. It is the third-highest career total in that category in school history.

ATU senior place kicker Eric Perez finished with 259 career points — most by a kicker in school history — a school-record 148 made career point after touchdown kicks and 37 career made field goals — second-most in Tech history.