Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern football team will be back at home this weekend as the Lions play host to visiting Central Missouri inside Fred G. Hughes Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 6 pm this Saturday.
Game 4: Missouri Southern State University Lions (3-1, 3-1 MIAA)
vs. University of Central Missouri Mules (2-2, 1-2 MIAA)
Date: Saturday, October 5, 2013 Kickoff: 6 pm
Location: Joplin, Mo. • Fred G. Hughes Stadium/Robert W. Plaster Sports Complex (3,000)
Media: Radio (97.9 FM Big Dog - Mike McClure (Play-by-Play), Tom Cox (Color) Streamed live on www.mssulions.com or via the Big Dog App for iPhone and Android
Live Video: via America One Sports
The Series: Central Missouri holds the all-time series lead against the Lions at 18-14-1. The Lions have an 8-7-1 record at Hughes Stadium against the Mules, while the Lions are just 6-11 in Warrensburg. Central has won 14 out of the last 17 meetings. Southern defeated the Mules in 2006 at Hughes Stadium by the score of 31-26. It was the first win over Central in five games. From 1983-1996, the Lions were 7-2 against the Mules.
A victory vs. UCM would: snap a streak of six-straight wins for the Mules over Southern. It would be just the second win for the Lions in the last 12 meetings between the two schools.
National Leaders: After four games, Southern ranks third in rushing in Division II, while ranking eighth in fewest sacks allowed. They are tenth in passing efficiency and 18th in turnover margin, while ranking 17th in red-zone offense and 27th in scoring offense.
MIAA Leaders: The Lions lead the MIAA in rushing, fewest sacks allowed and most sacks gained. They rank second in red zone offense, while ranking third in passing efficiency and fourth in punting. They rank fifth in both turnover margin and tackles for a loss.
Pick City: Southern had three interceptions in the first half against Soutwhest Baptist as Breon Matlock and Michael Burks picked off passes and Gatlin Ridgway added one of his own that stopped a scoring drive as time expired in the half.
Sack Nation: The Lions are leading the MIAA in sacks this year and had five in the game against Southwest Baptist, including three on three concecutive plays. Southern has 11 sacks through four games and is on pace for 21 sacks in the season. The school record for sacks in a season is 30, set in both 1991 and 2005.
The Dish on the Mules: Central comes into the matchup with the Lions 2-2 on the season and 1-2 in MIAA play. The Mules started the seasons with back-to-back losses, but it came by a total of seven points to sixth ranked Missouri Western and third ranked Northwest Missouri. Since then, Central has defeated Lindenwood at home and beat Truman on the road this past week.
Offensively, quarterback Hayden Hawk leads the offensive push for the Mules. He has 32 carries and two touchdowns on the ground, while hitting for 1,308 yards on 108-153 through the air. He has 11 touchdowns and just one interception. LaVance Taylor is the leading rusher with 64 carries and 254 yards with a score. Ronrei Lloyd is Hawk's favorite target with 28 receptions for 438 yards and five touchdowns, while Anthony Kirkwood has 19 catches and three scores.
Defensively, Ryan Berry leads the Mules with 28 tackles, while Zach Quines has 24 stops and two interceptions and Ramond Hunter has 12 stops and two sacks.
The Mules lead the MIAA and rank fifth in Division II in red zone offense, scoring at a 94 percent clip while inside the 20. They rank 11th nationally in passing offense and 14th in passing efficiency. Central will play host to Pittsburg State next Saturday in Warrensburg.