Lions prep for final home game

Southern will host Emporia State Saturday


The Missouri Southern football team will honor seven seniors this Saturday as the Lions play host to Emporia State for Senior Day. Kickoff from Fred G. Hughes Stadium is slated for 3 pm.

Game Information
Team Records: MSSU 2-7, 2-7 MIAA | ESU 2-7, 2-7 MIAA
Date: Saturday, November 9, 2019
Kick-Off: 3:00 pm, CT
Location: Joplin, Mo.
Site: Fred G. Hughes Stadium (7,000)
Series Record: Series tied 22-22
Coaches: Jeff Sims (2-7 at MSSU, 2-7 overall – first year as a 4-year head coach) | Garrin Higgins (131-77 overall/80-68 at ESU)

Media Coverage
MSSU Radio: Fox Sports Joplin 101.3, 101.7 and AM 1560; 88.7 FM KXMS – Mike McClure, Play-by-Play, Scott Boudreaux, Color
Video Webcast:
Live Stats:
Lions on Facebook:
Lions on Twitter: @mososports; @mosofootball
Lions on Instagram: @mososports

The Series: The series between the two teams is all tied up at 22 apiece. Southern is 13-8 at home and 9-14 in Emporia. Emporia has won the last seven games in a row, but the Lions had won the previous four meetings. Southern dominated the series early when both teams were in the NAIA, winning 12 of the first 15 matchups. In the last ten meetings between the two schools, the average margin of victory for either team has been 15.1 points. However, four out of the ten games have been decided by a touchdown or less.

A Victory vs. The Hornets Would: stop a seven-game losing streak for the Lions against Emporia State. The win would give Southern three wins on the season, the most since the 2014 season when the Lions won four.

NFL Representation: The Lions will have Brandon Williams as the lone MSSU alum in the NFL this season. Williams has blossomed into one of the best interior defensive linemen in the NFL and in 2017 became one of the highest-paid, as well, signing a five-year, $54 million contract.

NFL Executive: Former Lion and former NFL wide receiver James Thrash is in his third season serving as the NFL and NFLPA’s Appeals Officer. He hears all appeals for the NFL regarding on-field player discipline. Thrash played 12 seasons in the NFL for the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles.

Lions On Radio: The Lions will partner with Fox Sports Joplin this year as Southern can now be heard on three separate FM stations, as well as an AM station. Fox Sports Joplin will air the Lions’ games on 101.3 and 101.7 FM, as well as AM 1560. MSSU’s KXMS 88.7 will also simulcast the games giving the Lions a larger reach in the four-states than they’ve ever had.

Tough League/Region: The MIAA has two teams in the coaches top 25 this week. Central Missouri is 10th, while Northwest Missouri is 12th. The Super Region Three, which the Lions are a part of, has three teams in the top ten and has nine teams in the top 25. There are 11 teams total that are either ranked or receiving votes in the poll from the region.

Lions On TV: Missouri Southern’s KGCS will air every Lions home game live this year during the season. They will also re-broadcast the games on Sunday evenings at 6 pm.

Lions On The Web: All of MSSU’s football games are carried live online as part of the MIAA Network. Fans can go to to view live and on-demand games.

Streaming Options: Fans now have even more options to view the Lions online in their homes and on the road. Not only can you view on your computer, fans can now view The MIAA Network on its over the top apps for either Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Android TV.

New Head Coach: Jeff Sims was announced as the new head coach for the Lions at the conclusion of the 2018 football season.

NFL Pedigree: In his career, Sims has coached more than 50 players to NFL careers, including two first-round NFL Draft picks, (Jason Pierre-Paul and Mike Hughes), well as NFL All-Pro Lavonte Davis. In total, seven players he has coached have been drafted. Two former players, Pierre-Paul and Jacquian Williams, both played for the New York Giants in a Super Bowl victory.

NCAA Team Stats Rankings: The Lions lead Division II in passing offense, whiel ranking third in first downs, 14th in total offense, 25th in fourth down defense, 28th in kickoff returns, 34th in defensive touchdowns, 40th in fumbles recovered and 41st in both blocked punts and scoring.

MIAA Team Stats Rankings: This year, the Lions lead the MIAA in first downs, and passing, while ranking second in blocked punts, fourth down defense and total offense. Southern is third in defensive touchdowns and kickoff returns.

Individual Stats Rankings: Jacob Park leads Division II in passing yards, while ranking second in passing yards per game, third in completions, fourth in total offense, ninth in points responsible for 16th in passing touchdowns and 35th in passing yards per completion. Josh Mercer is fifth nationally in kickoff return touchdowns, while ranking 27th in combined kickoff returns and 34th in kickoff returns. JaTece Wright is fifth in punt return touchdowns, while Richard Jordan Jr. is 18th in total tackles.

Record Setting Passer: Park broke his own school record against Central Missouri as he threw for 519 yards becoming the first Lion quarterback to throw for a half a thousand in a single game. He went 36-of-59 with four touchdowns in the game, helping the Lions set the team record for passing yards in a game with 519, as well. Park also tied the single-game completion record with 36, tying the mark held by TJ Fleeton in 2015 against Fort Hays State. Park’s total of 519 yards is also second-best total offense mark all-time in a single game at Southern. He also broke his attempt mark against Washburn with 66 passing attempts in the game.

Record Setting Passer II: Park had a career game at Northeastern State when he tied the single-game record for passing TD’s with five and set a record for TD’s responsible for with eight as he rushed for three.

Record Setting Game: The Lions broke or tied six single-game records at NSU. Southern broke the MSSU single-game marks for total offense (743), points (86), margin of victory (79), and first downs (42) – which also broke an MIAA record.

Passing The Bar: Park leads Division II in passing yards this season with 3,198 yards through nine games. When compared with the other three divisions in the NCAA, Park is second amongst all NCAA passers, trailing only Anthony Gordon of Washington State.

Records Watch: Park has moved into second-place all-time in a single season in total offense with 3,219 yards, just 285 from the MSSU record. Park also sits in second with 3,198 passing yards, just 208 off that single-season mark and moves into the top-ten of career passing yardage up to No. 9 in that category. His completion total of 226 this season ranks third so far in a single-season.

Spread The Receptions: This season, the Lions have ten different 100-yard receiving games from five different individuals. Dwayne Lawson has and Brian Boyd Jr. have three of them, while Benjamin Phillips has two. Brailon Mouton and Devond Blair, Jr. have one game each. The Lions have had two different games where three different individuals had 100 or more yards receiving.

Have A Game Charles: Charles West had a big game at Missouri Western where he had three rushing touchdowns, carrying the ball for 137 yards. He also caught ten passes for 92 yards, tying a Missouri Southern record for receptions in a game by a running back.

Have A Game Charles II: Charles West has set a new MSSU single-season record for receptions by a running back. He has 40 on the season.

Defensive Lineage: Three former Lions’ defensive coaches, all whom current assistant coach Joe Bettasso learned under, are in high-profile positions. Scottie Hazelton (04-05) is the Defensive Coordinator at Kansas State, Brian Ward (2005) is the Defensive Coordinator at Syracuse and Todd Wash (2004) is the Defensive Coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL.

Weather Report: The weather report for the Joplin area on Saturday calls for plenty of sunshine with a high of 59 degrees. Chance of rain is listed at 10% with a southwest wind of 11 MPH.

Up Next: Southern will finish off the regular season on November 16 with a road matchup at Pittsburg State for the 2019 Miners Bowl. Kickoff is set for 1 pm.


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