JOPLIN -- The Missouri Southern football team set school records for total offense and first downs, while tying marks for points and sacks in a 68-28 win over visiting Southwest Baptist today at Fred G. Hughes Stadium.
Southern (3-4) broke a record for total offense (672) they had set previously this year against Lincoln. They also set a record for first downs (35) breaking the previous mark of 33 set against Washburn in 2002. The Lions tied marks for total points (68) with the previous mark coming against Evangel in 1982, while the nine sacks in the game tied the school record set twice, once against Fort Hays in 1988 and again against Missouri Western in 1991.
Southwest Baptist (6-2) loses for just the second time this season, but the Bearcats were led offensively by quarterback Dan Connors as he went 15-23 passing with 198 yards and two touchdowns. Marcus Sullivan and Charles Sullivan caught touchdown passes for SBU.
Collin Howard had a career-high 344 yards on 22-36 passing. He tied a career-high with four touchdown passes, while rushing for 24 yards on the ground. Ne'Ronte Threatt had one of his best games as the junior caught four passes for 94 yards and two scores, led the team in rushing with five carries for 79 yards and also had 129 yards of kickoff returns, including a 90-yard touchdown return. Landon Zerkell caught ten passes for 166 yards to go over 2,000 yards in his career. He also moved into third place all-time with 147 total receptions. He sits just 11 catches away from tying Rod Smith for second all-time in Southern history.
Defensively the Lions shined in the second half. After allowing 21 points at halftime, the Lions held SBU to just 76 yards of offense in the second half (202 in the first half). Southern had nine sacks in the game with Maurice Pearl getting two of his own. Brandon Williams and Julian Young had a sack and a half each, while Kenny Smith, Ryon Phillips and Derrick Hopper added a sack each. Demon Haire and Gary Combs had a half sack each. Haire led the Lions with eight tackles, while Broan Rodgers had an interception return for 11 yards.
The Lions opened the scoring and scored on their first five posessions, opening up a 30-7 lead mid-way through the second quarter. A 21-yard field goal from Eric Murdock, his second of the half, gave the Lions a 33-21 lead as time expired in the half.
The Lions scored three times in the third quarter and twice more in the fourth to close out the win.
Southern will be back in action next weekend, playing host to sixth-ranked Northwest Missouri at 2 pm from Hughes Stadium. The game will be senior day for the ten departing seniors on the Lions' roster.