Southern football dominates Missouri Western, defeating Griffons, 23-6

Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern football team put on a clinic on both sides of the ball tonight and snapped a five-game losing streak by defeating the visiting Missouri Western Griffons, 23-6 in a wet Hughes Stadium in Joplin. 

The Lions (3-5, 1-5 MIAA) dominated both lines passing and running at will, racking up 184 yards on the ground and 242 in the air for 426 on the night. On the other side of the ball, the defense limited Western (5-3, 3-3 MIAA) to 14 yards rushing and 165 yards passing for 179 on the night. 

Southern's defense sacked the Western quarterbacks eight times, one off the school record for sacks in a game (nine) done twice against Fort Hays in 1988 and against Western in 1991. Brandon Williams and Nick Teer had three sacks each with Teer picking up seven stops on the night including a quarterback hurry. Williams had five tackles, three being sacks, including a forced fumble and a hurry. Williams now has nine sacks on the season, just one off the Southern single-season record. Maurlon Bembry led the Lions with eight stops, while Brandon Dean picked up a sack and a fumble recovery and Kenny Smith had a pass break up and a sack. Josh Woodard added an interception. 

Offensively, Collin Howard led the Lions' attack with 242 yards through the air on 15-31 and a touchdown. He also added a rushing touchdown. Kellen Cox had a career-high 128 yards receiving and a score, while Cornell Gedward (playing with a broken hand) had a career-high 160 yards on 29 carries. 

Another career-high came from kicker Dallas Herndon. The sophomore had three field goals making from distances of 41, 42 and 20 yards, while connecting on each of his extra points. 

Southern opened up the scoring in the first as Howard led the Lions down the field on their opening drive and hooked up with Kellen Cox for a 14-yard pass and catch. The Lions picked up an assist from Mother Nature early in the second quarter when a wide-open pass from Drew Newhart was knocked down by the wind falling just short of Adam Clausen in the end zone. The Griffons would have to settle for a 31-yard field goal from Brad Beckwith. 

A field goal from Herndon with 8:06 in the second quarter made the halftime score 10-3, Lions. Southern added another score, this time a one-yard run from Howard with 7:57 left in the third to go ahead 17-3, before another field goal from Beckwith, this time a 32-yarder cut the lead to 17-6. Howard, on that drive, laid a nasty block for Gedward that allowed the running back to reach the three-yard line of Western. 

The Lions added two more field goals from Herndon, from 42 and 20, to seal the win. 

Southern will be back in action next weekend, as the Lions play host to Central Missouri at 2 pm in Hughes Stadium for Homecoming.