MOSO Comes Home For Hall of Fame Game Against Nebraska-Kearney

The Missouri Southern football team will play host to Nebraska-Kearney this weekend as the Lions and Lopers will tangle as part of Hall of Fame weekend. Kickoff from Fred G. Hughes Stadium is slated for 6 pm.

Game Information
Team Records: MSSU – 0-2, 0-2 MIAA | UNK – 0-2, 0-2 MIAAA
Date: Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015
Kick-Off: 6:00 p.m., CT
Location: Joplin, Mo.
Site: Fred G. Hughes Stadium (7,000)
Series Record: UNK leads 8-5
Coaches: Denver Johnson (0-2 at MSSU, 69-68 overall) | Josh Lambertson (0-2 at UNK, overall)

Media Coverage
MSSU Radio: FM 99.7 Real American Country – Mike McClure, Play-by-Play, Scott Boudreaux, Color
Video Webcast:
Live Stats:
Lions on Facebook:
Lions on Twitter: @mososports; @mosofootball

The Coaches:
Denver Johnson was named the 13th head coach in Missouri Southern history on April 1, 2015. He comes to Southern after serving four seasons at the University of Tulsa as the Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator. In his four seasons at Tulsa, four of his offensive linemen earned first-team all-league accolades, including Stetson Burnett (2013), Brian DeShane and Jared Grigg (2012) and Clint Anderson (2011). Tyler Holmes was an honorable mention performer in 2011 and spent the 2012 season with the Minnesota Vikings. Johnson coached an offensive line that helped pave the way for a 1,000-yard rusher in two of his final three seasons at Tulsa. In 2012, Tulsa’s offense ranked fourth nationally for fewest sacks allowed, ninth for rushing offense, 21st for fewest tackles for lost yardage allowed and 28th for total offense. Johnson has spent a total of 30 years coaching college football. In the summer of 2012, Johnson was awarded the Merv Johnson Integrity in College Coaching Award by the Jim Thorpe Association. Johnson has been the head coach at two Division I institutions garnering a 69-66 overall record in 12 seasons at Murray State and Illinois State. An All-Missouri Valley Conference offensive lineman as a senior for Tulsa, Johnson was an eighth round draft choice by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1981. He spent two years (1981-82) with the Bucs and three seasons in the USFL, playing two years (1983-84) with the Los Angeles Express and the 1985 season with the Houston Gamblers. Johnson’s USFL tenure included playing stints with NFL Hall of Fame quarterbacks Jim Kelly and Steve Young. Johnson earned his bachelor’s degree in business management from Tulsa in 1981. He and his wife, Danita Kay, have two daughters: Taylor and Kelsey.

Josh Lamberson was named the 17th head football coach in UNK history on December 14th. The Nebraska native is just fourth Loper head coach since 1955.
Lamberson, 32, is a native of Wilber and has a career record of 80-30 in nine years as an assistant coach at Central Missouri (39-19), Southeastern Oklahoma State (13-9) and Northwest Missouri State (28-2). He spent the past five seasons at UCM, including four as offensive coordinator. He also coached wide receivers and was the recruiting coordinator. Lamberson worked two seasons at SEOSU as quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator from 2008-10. He also was a graduate assistant at Northwest during the 2006-07 seasons, helping lead the Bearcats to a 28-2 record and spot in two national championship games as the quarterbacks coach.

The Series: Nebraska-Kearney holds an 8-4 record in the overall series, however the two teams have only played each other once since the 1988 season, the last year the Lions participated as a member of the NAIA and the Central States Intercollegiate Conference. The series features one of the most unique situations as both teams historically have been better at the other team’s facility. The Lions are 1-5 at home, while 4-3 in Kearney. UNK won the first four meetings, but Southern took the next three. The Lions won the last meeting 38-18 in 1988 in Kearney.

The Dish On The Lopers: The Lopers are 0-2 to start the season after losses at #5 Northwest Missouri (31-0) and Washburn (34-14). The Lopers’ game last week at Washburn was suspended due to weather on Thursday night and finished Friday morning. UNK is led offensively by its quarterback Bronson Marsh. Marsh is 23-60 through the air with a touchdown and 368 yards, averaging 184 per game. Marsh also has 32 carries for 1.4 per rush and a score on the ground. Romero Cotton is the leading rusher with 30 carries and 92 yards for 3.1 per rush. Cougar Williams and Tityus Mitchell are Marsh’s favorite targets through the air as Williams has caught 11 passes for 68 yards and Mitchell has six receptions for 107 yards and a score. Defensively, Tyke Kozeal leads this team from his linebacker position. He has 31 tackles with 12 solo on the season, including two sacks and five stops for a loss. Steven Burns has two tackls for a loss, while Dexter Becker has a sack and eight tackles. The Lopers are averaging 184 yards in the air per game, while picking up 88.5 yards per game on the ground for a 272.5 per game total offense average. They have yet to intercept a pass on the season and are giving up on average 100 more yards of offense per game.
UNK will be back in action next weekend when the Lopers are at home against Central Missouri.

A Victory vs. UNK Would: be the second win in a row over the Lopers. It would also be the second in the last five tries against UNK and move the overall series record with the Lopers to 8-6 in favor of UNK.

NFL Representation: The Lions will have two different starters on NFL rosters to start the season. Brandon Williams is a starter on the defensive line for the Baltimore Ravens, while Allen Barbre will on the offensive line for the Philadelphia Eagles.

NCAA Stat Leaders: The Lions, after two games, lead Division II in fourth down conversion defense, blocked kicks and blocked punts allowed. Southern ranks seventh in fewest penalties per game and ninth in fewest penalties, while ranking 17th in fewest penalty yards per game and 20th in fewest penalty yards. The team ranks 27th in turnovers gained and 28th in passes intercepted, while ranking 30th in punt returns and 33rd in fumbles recovered. Southern ranks 41st in sacks and 55th in sacks allowed (fewest).

MIAA Stat Leaders: The Lions lead the MIAA in fourth down conversion percentage, blocked kicks allowed, blocked punts allowed, fewest penalties and fewest penalties per game. They also rank second in passes intercepted, sacks allowed, fewest penalty yards and fewest penalty yards per game. The team ranks third in punt returns, fourth in turnovers gained and seventh in sacks.

Individual National Rankings: Brock Renken leads the NCAA in field goal percentage, while ranking 43rd in field goals per game. Ricky Green is sixth in interceptions, while Johnquavious McBride ranks ninth in fumbles recovered. Green is 17th in passes defended, while Kyjuan Tate ranks 18th in both forced fumbles and total tackles.

MIAA Individual Rankings: Renken leads the MIAA in field goal percentage and is fourth in field goals per game. McBride leads the team in fumbles recovered, while Tate is fourth in both total tackles and forced fumbles. Green ranks second in interceptions and fifth in passes defended, while Stetson Broce ranks fifth in punting.

Spread the Wealth: The Lions had eight different players catch a pass in week one and seven in week two. Six different players rushed the ball in week one, while seven got a rush in week two. In 2014, only ten different players caught a pass all season, while 11 have caught a pass already this year.

Tough League/Region: The MIAA has two teams in the coaches top 25 this week. Northwest Missouri is third, while Pittsburg State is four. The Super Region Three, which the Lions are a part of, has eight teams in the top 25. There are 15 teams total that are either ranked or receiving votes in the poll from the region.

New Quarterback: TJ Fleeton picked up his first start of his career at MSSU at Northwest Missouri.

Renken’s Day: Sophomore kicker Brock Renken (Joplin) had a day in the Lions’ opener against Emporia State, going 2-2 in both field goals and extra points. He hit a career-high 40-yarder in his first attempt and nailed a 32-yarder later in the game. Renken leads the NCAA in field goal percentage and ranks 43rd in field goals per game.

Broce With the Boot: Junior punter Stetson Broce had six punts for an average of 40 yards per kick in the Lions’ opener. He is averaging 39.1 yards per punt with a long of 53 and three inside the 20. He ranks 53rd nationally in punting and 5th in the MIAA.

Ricky Green With The Pick: Junior Ricky Green had two interceptions in the game with Emporia State. The two picks are the first time since last year against Central Missouri where a Lion had multiple interceptions in the same game. He currently ranks sixth nationally in picks and second in the MIAA in the category. He also ranks 17th nationally in passes defended, while ranking 5th the MIAA.

Welcome Back Kenny: Defensive Coordinator Kenny Evans is back in green and gold for MSSU. Evans spent nine seasons on the late John Lantz’s staff at Missouri Southern from 1989-97 where he helped guide the program into the ranks of NCAA Division II and help MSSU go 51-35 during that stretch.

Defensive Depth: The Lions return five starters on defense from a season ago. Of the 11 starters on defense, however, ten saw significant time over the previous two seasons for MSSU.

New Quarterback II: For the first time since the 2007 season (Nathan Emmert), the Lions will not have the previous season’s opening game starting quarterback on its roster (not including graduation). Jay McDowell left the program in the off season.

Hall of Fame: This week is Hall of Fame weekend where MSSU will induct four individuals into the Athletics Hall of Fame. Among them is former football standout Josh Chapman.

Weather Report: The weather report for the Joplin area on Thursday calls for a high of 76 degrees with partly cloudy conditions and a 20 percent chance of rain.

Up Next: The Lions will start a two-game road trip when Southern travels to Washburn next Saturday.