Lions prepare for road matchup with Missouri Western

The Lions (4-4) face the Griffons (3-5) Saturday afternoon.

JOPLIN, Mo. – (WATCH) Missouri Southern prepares to face Missouri Western on the road on Saturday.

The Lions are 4-4 overall this season, while the Griffons are 3-5.

Currently, Missouri Western has the #1 red zone defense in the MIAA.

“Ultimately, I think the thing that will help us is the run game and bringing those safeties down so we can take some shots with some of our bigger targets,” says MSSU head coach Atiba Bradley on attacking the Griffons defense in the red zone, “They’re a good defense, but there are a bunch of good defenses in this league. We’ve had success. Our red zone numbers are higher than they’ve been in a long time. The challenge will be getting into the red zone, more so than the red zone.”

“They kind of put us in space on the back end. They like to play a lot of man,” says MSSU wide receiver Dwayne Lawson on the Griffons, “They have a good front 7. Our front can definitely take care of that. They’re a good team, but I feel like we’re a good team, too.”

Saturday’s game kicks off at 1 PM.

RELEASE FROM MISSOURI SOUTHERN ATHLETICS:

Joplin, Mo. —  The Missouri Southern football program will head on the road this week as the Lions start a two-game road trip with a matchup at Missouri Western. Kickoff between the Lions and Griffons is set for 1 pm on Saturday at Spratt Memorial Stadium.

Game Information
Team Records: MSSU 4-4, 4-4 MIAA | MWSU 3-5, 3-5 MIAA
Date: Saturday, October 29
Kick-Off: 1:00 pm, CT
Location: St. Joseph, Mo.
Site: Spratt Memorial Stadium  (10,000)
Series Record: MWSU leads 27-23
CoachesAtiba Bradley (8-12, overall/at MSSU) | Matt Williamson (29-25 overall/at MWSU)

Media Coverage
MSSU Radio: 101-7 The Vault 101.7 FM; – Mike McClure, Play-by-Play, Scott Boudreaux, Color
Live Coverage: www.mssulions.com/coverage
Lions on Facebook:  Facebook.com/mososports
Lions on Twitter: @mososports; @mosofootball
Lions on Instagram: @mososports

The Series: The all-time series record between the two teams has Missouri Western leading 27-23. The Lions are 13-15 at Fred G. Hughes Stadium and the Southern record is 10-12 in St. Joseph.  Western has won 13 of the last 17 against the Lions, but Southern has two wins against MWSU when the Griffons were ranked including a huge fourth-quarter comeback against then 12th ranked Western in 2009 in St. Joseph and another fourth-quarter comeback in 2012 in St. Joseph against then fourth-ranked Western. Southern dominated the series with the Griffons early on, winning the first five meetings in a row, and ten out of the first 13. The largest margin of victory for the Lions was in two separate games (1970 & 1972 – 45 points), and for the Griffons was in 2015 (42).

A Victory vs. The Griffons Would: stop an eight-game losing streak to Western for the Lions. It would also be the first five-win season for the Lions since the 2013 season.

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 Football Team and Philadelphia Eagles.

Lions On Radio: The Lions will partner with 101-7 The Vault this year as Southern can now be heard on 101.7 FM.

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 www.themiaanetwork.com/mssulions 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.

Defensive Lineage: Three former Lions’ defensive coaches, all whom current head coach Atiba Bradley and assistant coach Joe Bettasso learned under, are in high-profile positions. Scottie Hazelton (04-05) is the Defensive Coordinator at Michigan State, Brian Ward (2005) is the Defensive Coordinator at Washington State and Todd Wash (2004) is the Defensive Line Coach for the Detroit Lions in the NFL.

Green And Gold Alums: The Lions have four members of their staff that were either players or earned a degree from Missouri Southern. Head Coach Atiba Bradley, as well as Defensive Coordinator Joe Bettasso and Associate Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator Matt Rahl all played for the Lions, while Director of Operations, Rylee Hartwell is a MOSO grad.

Returning All-MIAA: The Lions return six players that were named All-MIAA a season ago in Richard Jordan Jr., Solomona Fetao, Dylan BoldenNick KruseColton Winder and Nick Williams. Williams won All-MIAA honors at two different positions (kicker and punter).

I’ll Take That: Dylan Bolden was one of just nine players in Division II with two interceptions returned for a touchdown last season. It tied a single-season MSSU record. Bolden picked up his two pick-six’s at UCO in week three and Lincoln in week six.

MIAA Special Teams Athlete Of The Week: Nick Williams was named the MIAA Special Teams Athlete of the Week for the second time this season after he had three field goals in the game at No. 10 Pitt State. The senior hit field goals from 52, 24 and 42 yards with the 52-yarder being his longest of the season. Williams also had seven punts for an average of 46 yards, including a long of 72 yards and three inside the Gorillas 20-yard line.

National Team Rankings: The Lions lead Division II in red zone offense, while ranking third in punt return defense, 13th in tackles for a loss allowed, 16th in both punting and passes had intercepted, 18th in both punt returns and turnovers lost, 24th in turnover margin, 27th in blocked kicks allowed and 33rd in fumbles recovered.

MIAA Team Rankings: Southern leads the MIAA in punt return defense, red zone offense and tackles for a loss allowed. The Lions rank second in red zone defense and turnovers gained, while ranking third in fumbles recovered, passes had intercepted, punt returns, rushing, team sacks and turnover margin.

National Individual Rankings: Richard Jordan Jr. ranks second nationally in forced fumbles, while Jaedon Stoshak is second in punt return touchdowns. Nick Williams is fifth in field goal percentage, sixth in punting and tenth in field goals per game, while Stoshak is tenth in punt returns. Coleman Booker and Colton Winder both rank 12th in fumbles recovered, while Jordan ranks 20th in total tackles, 25th in solo tackles and Nathan Glades is 30th in rushing.

MIAA Individual Rankings: Jordan leads the MIAA in forced fumbles, while Booker and Winder lead in fumbles recovered. Stoshak is tops in punt return touchdowns, while Williams is first in punting.

Force It: Southern forced seven fumbles and recovered five at Fort Hays State in week four. None bigger was a force of a fumble from Jalen Dennis that stopped a Tigers’ drive deep inside MSSU territory and secured the win for the Lions.

I’m Seeing Double: Dawson Herl will be joined by his younger brother Dayne Herl this year on the roster. Both Herls play quarterback.

Mr. 300: Richard Jordan, Jr. went over the 300 tackle plateau in week one against UNK. Jordan has 365 in his career at Southern, ranking third all-time at MSSU as he has tied Steve Forbis at No. 3.

New Record: Richard Jordan Jr. forced a pair of fumbles in the win at Fort Hays State in week four. Those forced fumbles gave him 11 in his career, breaking the previous record of 10 held by MSSU Hall of Famer Ron Burton.

D2football Elite 100 Watch List: Richard Jordan Jr. was announced on the 2022’s version of the websites Elite 100 Watch List hat was selected by the staff of the publication and looks to point out the top 100 players in Division II. Jordan Jr. was listed as under the Squad team and is one of 12 from the MIAA listed.

All-American Lineage: Richard Jordan Jr. and his father Richard Jordan are the first father-son duo to be named All-American in the football program’s history. Jordan, Jr. was named an All-American last year by the Don Hansen Football Committee.

Mr. 1000: Nathan Glades went over 1,000 rushing yards in his career at Missouri Southern against UCO. Glades currently has 1,466 rushing yards.

Mr. 200: Colton Winder went over 200 tackles in his career at Missouri Southern against UCO. Winder currently has 247 tackles in 30 career games played.

The Century Mark: Nathan Glades has ran for 100 yards or more in four of the eight games this season. In his career, Glades has eight 100-yard rushing games.

Herl For Five: Dawson Herl was responsible for five touchdowns in the 41-20 win over UCO in week three. Herl had three passing touchdowns and two rushing scores.

Bass Brothers From Another Mother: Colton and Avery Bass (no relation) both had interceptions in the fourth quarter for the Lions at NSU that were key in turning the momentum in the game.

Takeaway U: Southern has forced 15 takeaways this year and given just nine. The Lions lead the MIAA in turnovers gained and rank second in turnover margin.

This Week’s Officials: The officials as assigned by the MIAA this week are as follows: referee: John Adams, umpire: Manu Preston, linesman: Ben Tenpenny, line judge: Dee Barnett, side judge: Zac Dickey, field judge: Christopher Scott, back judge: Brett Cahill, center judge: Scott Keffer.

Tough League/Region: The MIAA has two teams in the coaches top 25 this week. Pittsburg State is 5th, while Northwest Missouri is 13th. The Super Region Three, which the Lions are a part of, has four teams in the top ten and has nine teams in the top 25. There are 13 teams total that are either ranked or receiving votes in the poll from the region.

Weather Report: The weather report for the St. Joseph area on Saturday calls for mostly sunny skies. There will be a high of 73 with winds out of the east at 7 MPH and a seven percent chance of rain.