The Pioneers opened the 2011 football season with a 24-0 shutout of Central Methodist on Saturday. On the opening drive, MNU got the ball to the CMU 35 yard line before Greg Gates tore off a brilliant 35-yard run for a touchdown. The Pioneers' Jared Moyston intercepted a third down pass on the ensuing drive, and MNU forced punts on the next drives as CMU struggled to find offensive rhythm. The second quarter opened with another Greg Gates touchdown, set up by a tough catch in traffic by Brett Houchen to open the drive. Starting quarterback Sean Ransburg was banged up on a draw play, and Tyler Herl replaced him to play the remainder of the game.
Ashford Johnson's one-yard touchdown run put the Pioneers up 21-0 on the next drive, and CMU could not recover. The Eagles started the second half with a long drive which ended in a missed field goal, and another drive found them with a first and goal situation at the four yard line. But the Pioneer defense was stout and fought off the Eagle charge, including a stop on fourth and goal from the one.
Cody Morrow completed the scoring with a 22-yard field goal, and the defense stayed strong and kept the Eagles off the scoreboard. The shutout is the first since MNU defeated Avila 38-0 in 2008.
Greg Gates led the offense with 17 carries for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ashford Johnson contributed 11 carries for 59 yards and a touchdown. Tyler Herl was 9-18 passing for 94 yards and Sean Ransburg was 5-9 for 62 yards before the injury. Juan Redmon caught 6 passes for 67 yards, and Branden Phillips caught 4 balls for 36 yards.
The #3 Pioneers are 1-0. The next game is Saturday the 10th at #11 Missouri Valley (1-0) at 6:00 PM.