ST. LOUIS -- The Missouri Southern football team set a school record for total offense and picked up win No. 1 on the season as the Lions defeated Lincoln 56-14 today at the Edward Jones Dome in the 2011 Gateway Classic.
Southern (1-2, 1-2 MIAA) had 647 yards of total offens on the day (329 passing, 318 rushing) breaking the previous mark (646) set in 2002 against Washburn.
Lincoln (1-3, 0-3 MIAA) moves to 0-3 in the MIAA so far this season as the Blue Tigers had 24 yards rushing and 240 yards through the air.
The Lions started out the game on fire, taking the opening kickoff from the Lincoln 30 and quickly making the score 7-0 after Kyle Webster and Landon Zerkel hooked up for a 19-yard touchdown pass. Zerkel had catches of eight and 19 on the drive.
After forcing Lincoln to punt on its first drive, the Lions quickly put another seven on the board when Collin Howard hit Zerkel for a 23-yard catch and pass. The drive was five plays for 72 yards and had rushes from Sumpter of seven, eight and ten yards, while Kellen Cox caught a pass for 24 yards, as well.
Lincoln would add a touchdown as the first quarter neared completion when Robert Redmond hooked up with Dorderious Gregory for a 31 yard pass and catch.
Southern added another score when Sumpter broke off a 65-yard run to pay-dirt to put the Lions up 21-7. On the next drive, the Lions' defense came up huge and stopped a Lincoln drive that had reached the five-yard line when Kenny Smith picked off a pass. The Lions didn't waste any time and on the third play of the drive, Howard hit zerkel for a 92-yard touchdown catch. It is the second-longest touchdown pass in Southern history, behind 98-yard scores from Matt Cook to Rod Smith in 1991 and Mike Loyd ot Vincent Featherson in 1978.
Southern went into the locker room up 28-7. The Lions racked up 414 yards of total offense in the half (258 passing, 156 rushing).
Neither team scored in the third quarter, but the Lions put up 28 points in the fourth on tuochdown runs from Sumpter (two) and Mortez Jackson, as well as a late touchdown pass to Ne'Ronte Threatt from Blake McDonald.
Howard went 16-22 for 253 yards and two touchdowns today. Sumpter had 13 carries for 165 yards and three scores, while Zerkel had eight catches for 193 yards and three touchdowns. Threatt caught a pass for a score, while Jackson also ran for his first collegiate touchdown. McDonald was 2-7 for 57 yards and a touchdown, while Webster had a touchdown pass on his only attempt of the day.
Defensively, the Lions were led with eight tackles from CJ Broades and seven each from Aaron Hall and Smith. Smith had one of three Lions' interceptions today as Demond Horsely and Gary Combs picked up the other two. Southern also added six sacks on the day with Ryon Phillips picking up two and Jonathan Rogers, Julian Young and Brandon Williams adding one each. Derek Hopper and Anthony Shaw combined for a sack of their own.
The Lions will be back in action next weekend, playing host to Missouri Western for Homecoming 2011. Kickoff is slated for 2 pm from Fred G. Hughes Stadium at the Robert W. Plaster Sports Complex.