The Missouri Southern football team hosted Emporia State University on Saturday for the Lions final home game of the season. The game would be the Lions second worst offensive performance of the season as the Lions would only score six points to the Hornets 29. The poor performance on offense is something that the Lions aren’t use to as they were averaging 34.4 points a game before they faced the Hornets.
“We just didn’t execute. We are often of times inconsistent in our execution. It’s just being disciplined and not jumping off sides,” said Lions offensive coordinator Maty Higgins. “It’s not a lack of effort and its about staying logged and not getting caught up in the emotions of the game. We have to play every play and not hurt ourselves.”
The Lions did lose their starting quarterback, senior Jacob Park early in the game. Park is currently leading the MIAA in passing yards, so his absence hurt the offense. Park did practice fully this week and is expected to play this Saturday.
“He practiced in full and he’s ready to go,” said Jeff Sims. “He wanted to go back out there after he got hurt, but we didn’t believe it was in his best interest to do so. He just got hit hard and if he would have had four hours he probably would have gone back out there, but we thought it would be best to sit him for the rest of the game. He will be available for this Saturday against Pitt.
The Lions other top performers of the game were junior Charles West who had 59 yard rushing and freshman Colton Winder had a career day with 16 tackles and an interception.
The Lions did get a record broken by their tight end junior Keandre Bledsoe who had three receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown. His third reception of the night would break the Southern tight end record for most receptions in a season with 35.
The Lions’ next and final game of the season will be against Pittsburg State University. After a 5-0 start, the Gorillas have lost five straight. In their five straight losses they have allowed more than 30 points and have given up 13 passing touchdowns which is second in the MIAA.
The poor defensive performance lately along with Park returning may allow a big day for the Lions passing game.
The Gorillas and Lions also have historic rivalry since the two universities are less than an hour away, but the Lions haven’t won in a matchup against them since 2013. Before than the Lions had lost against the Gorillas in 19 straight matchups going back to 1993.
“I wouldn’t call it much of a rivalry since we haven’t beaten them in a while and we haven’t been very competitive in it, said junior Levi Marlay. “It’s just another game we have to go do our job. It is going to be a physical game, but if we go out there and do our job we should be all right.”
The game will be this Saturday at 1:00 in Pittsburg, Kansas