Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern football team will look to rebound from a tough loss this past week when the Lions travel to second ranked Northwest Missouri this Saturday.
Game 8: Missouri Southern State University Lions (5-2, 4-2 MIAA)
@ #2 Northwest Missouri State Bearcats (7-0, 6-0 MIAA)
Date: Saturday, October 26, 2013
Kickoff: 2 pm
Location: Maryville, Mo. • Bearcat Stadium/Tdjeersma Field (6,500)
Media Coverage: Radio - 97.9 FM | Internet Radio - www.mssulions.com | Live Video - www.mssulions.com
The Series: Northwest holds an 20-4 record against the Lions. Southern won last in 1994, 34-9 at Hughes Stadium, the only win at home in the series. Southern is 3-8 in Maryville, but haven't beat the Bearcats since 1994. Since 1998, the average margin of victory for Northwest has been 33 points. The Bearcats own the second-longest current winning streak against the Lions (PSU-19) at 18 straight games.
The Dish on the Bearcats: Northwest Missouri comes into the game with the Lions 7-0 and ranked No. 2 in the Division II poll. The Bearcats have two wins against ranked opponents (45-24 vs. #18 Saginaw Valley) and last week in a 24-15 win against #7 Pittsburg State in the Fall Classic at Arrowhead.
Offensively, the Bearcats utilize two different quarterbacks at times. Trevor Adams is 83-113 for 1,181 yards and 11 touchdowns through the air, while Brady Bolles is a dual-threat option as he is 54-81 through the air for 736 yards and six touchdowns, while carrying the ball 74 times for 305 yards and five scores. Robert Burton is the leading rusher for Northwest with 65 carries for 406 yards and four touchdowns, while Billy Creason has seven scores on the ground. Rueben Thomas has caught 26 passes for 381 yards and four touchdowns, while Clint Utter has five touchdowns through the air.
Defensively, the Bearcats are led by Eric Reimer with 54 tackles. He has 9.5 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks. Matt Longacre has six tackles for a loss and four sacks, while Travis Manning leads the team with two interceptions.
The Bearcats rank in the top four nationally in eight different categories including third in blocked kicks, first downs allowed and sacks allowed, while ranking fourth in fourth down conversions, blocked punts, completion percentage, turnover margin and turnovers lost. The game with the Lions is homecoming in Maryville and the Bearcats will play host to Washburn next weekend.
A Victory vs. Northwest Would: snap the second-longest losing streak for the Lions. It would be the first time in 19 tries the Lions had defeated Northwest dating back to 1994. It would also mark the highest-ever ranked opponent the Lions had defeated.
Rushing Prowess: The Lions are averaging 362.7 yards per game on the ground this season and are on pace to shatter the single-season rushing record they set last season of 3,043. The Lions are currently on pace to rush for 3,989 yards this season.
Records Go Down: Southern broke two school records in its game against Lincoln. The Lions broke a 43-year old single-game rushing record with 607 yards breaking the previous mark of 503 set in 1970, while they also set the total offense in a game mark with 658 yards.
National Leaders: After seven games, the Lions rank fourth in rushing offense and sixth in fewest sacks allowed. Southern ranks 22nd in passing efficiency and 28th in total offense.
National Leaders: Southern leads the lead in rushing and ranks second in fewest sacks allowed. The Lions rank third in rushing defense and sacks, while ranking fourth in total offense and total defense. Southern ranks fifth in passing efficiency and red zone offense.
Sack Nation: The Lions rank third in the MIAA in sacks this year and had five in the game against Southwest Baptist, including three on three consecutive plays. Southern has 16 sacks through six games and is on pace for 25 sacks in the season. The school record for sacks in a season is 30, set in both 1991 and 2005.
Tough League/Region: Currently there are four undefeated teams in the MIAA and five teams ranked in the top 25 (Northwest Missouri - 2, Missouri Western - 4, Washburn - 10, Pittsburg State - 12, Emporia State - 17. When you factor in the teams from the rest of Super Region 3, the region has six of the top ten teams nationally and nine teams from the region are ranked in the top 25.