JOPLIN, Mo. - Missouri Southern falls in season opener to Nebraska-Kearney, 39-27. Lions start off 0-1 in Jeff Sims era.
FULL PRESS RELEASE FROM MISSOURI SOUTHERN ATHLETICS:
The Missouri Southern football team scored 21-unanswered points during the third quarter, but the comeback came up just shy as the Lions fell at home to Nebraska-Kearney, 39-27.
Nearly 6,000 fans watched the Lions (0-1, 0-1 MIAA) put on a scoring barrage in the third quarter as Jacob Park and Dwayne Lawson hooked up for near record-setting games. On the defensive side, Richard Jordan Jr. put his name in the record books as he came three tackles shy of the single-game record.
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 caught six passes for 179 yards and two scores, including a 93-yard bomb. The 179 yards is tied for fifth-best all-time in a single game at MSSU.
Charles West had 31 yards on the ground and 73 yards in the air to go with two touchdowns.
Defensively Jordan had 18 stops and 1.5 tackles for a loss, while JaTece Wright had 12 stops of his own. The 18 tackles is tied for fourth-best in a single-game at MSSU. Cameron Vaughn and Malachi Broadnax had 2.5 tackles for a loss, while Chris Leaks Jr had nine stops of his own.
Kearney (1-0, 1-0 MIAA) had three touchdowns and 190 yards through the air for Alex McGinnis, but David Goodwin (95) and Darius Webb (92) nearly gave the Lopers two rushing for over 100 yards.
Southern had 410 total yards through the air.
The Lopers scored the game's first 20 points, before a 31-yard pass and score from Park to West put the Lions on the board. After two more UNK scores made the halftime score 33-6, the Lions went to work.
Southern got a 26-yard pass and score from Park to West to cap a nine-play, 65-yard drive, while Park hooked up with Lawson for two scores (29 and 93 yards) to get the Lions within six (33-27) with 13:42 to go in the fourth.
The Lopers scored late to put the game away.
Southern will be back in action next week as the Lions travel to Jefferson City to take on Lincoln. Kickoff is slated for 6 pm.
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