College Sports

Lions to host #7 Northwest Missouri Saturday

MSSU is 1-1 to start the season

MSSU on Northwest
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MSSU on Northwest

JOPLIN, Mo. - RELEASE FROM MISSOURI SOUTHERN ATHLETICS:

The Missouri Southern football team be back in action this Saturday as the Lions play host to No. 7 Northwest Missouri State. Kickoff from Fred G. Hughes Stadium is slated for 6 pm. 

Game Information
Team Records: MSSU 1-1, 1-1 MIAA | NWMSU 2-0, 2-0 MIAA
Date: Saturday, September 21, 2019
Kick-Off: 6:00 pm, CT
Location:  Joplin, Mo.
Site: Fred G. Hughes Stadium  (7,000)
Series Record:  NWMSU leads the series 26-4
Coaches Jeff Sims (1-1 at MSSU, 1-1 overall - first year as a 4-year head coach) | Rich Wright (21-6 at NWMSU, overall)

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: http://www.themiaanetwork.com/mssulions
Live Stats: https://www.mssulions.com.com/sidearmstats/football/summary
Lions on Facebook:  Facebook.com/mososports
Lions on Twitter: @mososports; @mosofootball
Lions on Instagram: @mososports

The Series : Northwest holds a 26-4 record against the Lions. Southern won last in 1994, 34-9 at Hughes Stadium, the only win at home in the series. Southern is 3-13 in Maryville, and 1-13 at home, but haven't beat the Bearcats since 1994. The Bearcats own the longest current winning streak against the Lions at 24-straight games. 

The Dish On The Bearcats: The Bearcats come into the game with the Lions ranked 7th nationally in the latest AFCA Coaches Poll. Northwest has won both of its games this season, defeating Missouri Western to start the season and winning at home against Washburn last week. Braden Wright is the reigning MIAA Player of the Week after passing for 278 yards and three touchdowns at Washburn. This season, Wright has thrown for 408 yards, four touchdowns, while rushing for 66 yards and two scores. Justin Rankin has 37 carries for 223 yards and two scores. Marqus Andrews has five catches for 112 yards, while Imoni Donadelle and Alec Tatum have four receptions and a touchdown. Defensively, the Bearcats are led by Blake Bayer with 13 tackles and two for a loss. Jackson Barnes has 12 stops and one quarterback hurry, while Trey Washington has 11 stops, a sack and an interception. The Bearcats  average 201 yards on the ground per game and 208 per game through the air. Northwest is back in action next week when they play host to Central Oklahoma.  

A Victory vs. Northwest Would: be the first win against the Bearcats in the last 25 tries. It would be the first win against a ranked opponent since the Lions defeated No. 6 Pittsburg State in 2013. 

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 second 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 three teams in the coaches top 25 this week. Northwest Missouri is 7th, while Central Missouri is 21st and Pittsburg State is 23rd. The Super Region Three, which the Lions are a part of, has four teams in the top ten and 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. 

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 7 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.mssulions.com 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 red zone offense, while ranking eighth in kickoff returns, 10th in tackles for a loss, 13th in both passing yards allowed (fewest) and tackles for a loss allowed (fewest), and 16th in passing yards per completion. Southern also ranks 11th in fewest penalties per game and 13th in fewest penalties total. 

MIAA Team Stats Rankings:  This year, the Lions lead the MIAA in passing yards allowed (fewest), red zone offense, tackles for a loss allowed (fewest), and tackles for a loss.  

Individual Stats Rankings:  Individually, Paul Wolff leads Division II in field goal percentage, while ranking 26th in punting. Jacob Park is 9th in passing yards per completion, 12th in passing touchdowns, 19th in passing yards 23rd in total offense and 28th in points responsible for. Logan Vandervelden is 12th in fumbles recovered, while Malachi Broadnax is 15th in forced fumbles. Dwayne Lawson and Charles West rank 26th in receiving touchdowns, while Lawson ranks 18th in receiving yards and receiving yards per game. Richard Jordan Jr. is 26th in total tackles. 

Experienced Coaching Staff: The Lions have nine assistant coaches on staff, with most of them either serving time as an assistant with Jeff Sims, or playing/coaching under him.  

Park it: Park, the Lions' starting quarterback had a stellar first game as he helped lead a second-half surge of offense for the Lions against Nebraska-Kearney. Park finished the game with 351 yards on 19-41 passing and four touchdowns. 276 of those yards and three of the touchdowns were all in the second-half. The four touchdowns is tied for second-best in a single game at MSSU.

Lawson With The Catch: Dwayne Lawson made the switch from quarterback to receiver rather nicely as the junior caught six passes for 179 yards and two scores. That included a 93-yard touchdown catch. The 179 yards is tied for fifth-best all-time in a single game at MSSU.

Run, Sean, Run: Sean Kelly came into the game at Lincoln in the second half and ran for 126 yards (zero negative yardage) and two touchdowns.  

Tacklers Are Us: Richard Jordan helped lead the defense for the Lions against Nebraska-Kearney as he had the fourth-best single-game tackle mark with 18 against the Lopers in week one. 

Hall of Fame: On October 19, former Missouri Southern head coach Jon Lantz will be inducted into the Missouri Southern Athletics Hall of Fame (posthumously). Lantz coached the Lions to the program's only MIAA Title in 1993 when the team went 9-1-1.

Watch Party Headquarters: For those wanting to catch the Lions on the road, but not able to travel, Gusanos in Joplin will host the official road watch party each Saturday. Come by their location at 7th and Duquesne to check out all the action.  

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 Thursday calls for a high of 82 and morning showers. Precipitation chance is listed at 50% with a southwest wind of 16 mph.     

Up Next:  The Lions will head to Hays, Kan. as the Lions will take on Fort Hays State at 7 pm on September 28. 

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