Big plays, key interceptions lead Lions to 42-21 win at home over Washburn

Press Release MSSU:
The Missouri Southern football team used a combination of big plays and stellar defense and the Lions defeated visiting Washburn 42-21 tonight at Fred G. Hughes Stadium inside the Robert W. Plaster Sports Complex.

The Lions (2-2, 2-2 MIAA) had five rushing touchdowns on the night and one passing score, but the defense had four interceptions, six tackles for a loss 11 pass break ups and six quarterback hurries in the game.

Washburn (1-3, 1-3 MIAA) actually out gained the Lions by 128 yards, but costly turnovers did the Ichabods in.

Washburn won the toss and elected to receive and the Ichabods didn’t waste any time getting on the board, scoring on the opening drive and a two-yard run from Vershon Moore.

The Lions answered right back as Michael Nelson hit paydirt for 29 yards, capping off a 10 play, 80-yard drive. The first quarter would end tied at seven.

Southern’s defense held strong on the Ichabod’s next possession, holding Washburn to a three and out after driving to the MSSU 11-yard line. A field goal attempt from 20 would be no good and the Lions took over on their own 20. Scott Lathrop wasted no time and hit Chris Jeffries for an 80-yard pass and score on the very next play to put the Lions up 14-7. Neither team scored for the rest of the half.

The Lions had the ball to start the second half and it took just 1:33 to result in another score as a big 38-yard run from Shannon Saunders was capped off by a four-yard score from Saunders to put Southern up 21-7.

Washburn answered back with a touchdown to make the score 21-14, but the Lions scored on their next possession to go up 28-14. A 24-yard pass from Lathrop to Anthony Cannon and a 27-yard run from Lathrop on the drive was capped by a five-yard dive into the endzone by Giresse Forchu.

The Lions added another score before the end of the third, this time on an eight-yard Lathrop run to make the score 35-14 with 26 seconds left in the third.

The defensive backfield stepped up on the next Washburn possession and Kevin Gill picked off an Ichabod pass to run it back 18 yards to the Washburn 12-yard line. An 11-yard run from Nelson put the Lions on the one as time expired in the third. Forchu ran the ball in on the first play of the fourth to put Southern up 42-14.

A touchdown from the Ichabods on their next possession provided the final tally.

The Lions picked up a big special teams play as after having to punt, Martice Buckley picked up a fumble by the Ichabods giving the Lions the ball on the Washburn 25. The Lions couldn’t score on the drive, but Southern had interceptions in the endzone on the Ichabods’ next final two possessions (Price and Buckley) to seal the win.

Lathrop rushed for 68 yards and a score, while going 5-5 with 119 yards and a touchdown through the air. Jeffries caught one pass for 80 yards and a score, while rushing for 16 yards. Nelson had 70 yards on the ground and a score, while Saunders had 68 yards and a touchdown. Forchu scored twice on 19 yards. Cannon caught three passes for 37 yards, while Jocqui Davis caught a pass.

Defensively, Gaige Washington had 16 tackles, ten solo and a pass breakup. Kevin Gill had 11 tackles, an interception and 1.5 tackles for a loss. Johnquavious McBride had 10 stops, a pass break up and a hurry, while Laynce Sanders had the lone sack and a forced fumble. Buckley had a forced fumble, a recovery, an interception and a breakup, while Price had two picks and five breakups.

The Lions will be back in action next weekend, playing host to Central Missouri for Homecoming. Kickoff is slated for 2 pm from Fred G. Hughes Stadium.