Gorillas’ will be without Smith, Watkins against Lincoln
By By Greg Grisolano
Posted: October 14, 2011 - 8:56 AM
When the Pittsburg State Gorillas face the Lincoln (Mo.) Blue Tigers at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Carnie Smith Stadium, they will do so without two star playmakers on both sides of the ball.
Pitt State will be without starting safety Chas Smith, who suffered a partially-torn ACL in his left knee. Smith leads the team with four interceptions.
“In a week or so we’ll make a decision on whether or not to try and get him back in three or four weeks or go ahead and have surgery,” Pitt. State coach Tim Beck said.
Back-up tailback Solomon Watkins is expected to undergo an MRI this week and will not suit up. Holder and receiver Luke Rampy also has been ruled out after suffering a bruised kidney in the Gorillas 38-17 win at Fort Hays this past week.
The match-up between the Gorillas and The Blue Tigers (1-5 overall, 0-5 MIAA) pits one program looking to reclaim its place at the top of the conference standings against another team making its return to the MIAA after an extended absence. Lincoln was a conference member from 1970-1989.
The Blue Tigers' offensive attack is led by redshirt freshman quarterback Robert Redmond. The diminutive Redmond (5-foot-9, 153 pounds) has completed nearly 58 percent of his throws (107-185) for 1,061 yards. Senior wideout Corderious Gregory leads all receivers in Division II with an 87.9-yards-per-game average and 8.3 catches per contest. On defense, freshman end Vonques Knox ranks second in the MIAA with nine tackles for a loss.
Former NFL linebacker Mike Jones is in his first season at the helm for the Blue Tigers.
“Lincoln has had a tough go, and their team has struggled a little bit,” Beck said. “But they have some individuals that can really get after you at several positions. So, they’re not as deep as they’d like to be, I’m sure, but individually they’ve got some very good athletes. They’ve got the leading receiver in the conference, and he’s going to get some catches. ... So we’ll have a lot of focus and attention on him.”
Lincoln started the season with a 35-0 shutout victory against NAIA school Avila before dropping five-straight in mostly lop-sided fashion. They dropped an 86-26 decision at Washburn, lost 73-7 at home to Northwest Missouri, were routed 56-14 by Missouri Southern, and gave up 81 points at Missouri Western while mustering only 20 this past week. The Blue Tigers were competitive in a 24-21 loss at Fort Hays on Oct. 1.
“Even though Missouri Western was able to score a lot of points, you’ll never hear of somebody having 104 plays on offense, which (Lincoln) did,” Beck said. “That shows they’re able to put some things together and control the ball a little bit. That’s definitely a concern.”