JOPLIN -- The Missouri Southern football team took out visiting Northeastern State 27-21 tonight in the Lions home opener in front of more than 5,000 fans at Fred G. Hughes Stadium.
The Lions (2-0, 2-0 MIAA) are 2-0 in the MIAA for the first time since the 2002 season when the Lions started the season 4-0 overall.
NSU (0-2, 0-2) loses its second-straight conference game to start the season.
Southern Started the game and took the opening drive and went 17 plays and 86 yards, taking 9:35 off the clock as Kellen Cox capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.
After NSU tied it up with a three-yard touchdown frun from Terrance Dixon as the RiverHawks used their own clock killing drive, going 73 yards on 13 plays and taking up nearly six minutes.
The Lions added two more scores, both on runs from Ne'Ronte Threatt from three and 14 yards out to go up 21-7 at the half.
Dixon added another touchdown six minutes into the third quarter, this time on a pass from Johnny Deaton to cut the Lions' lead to 21-14.
The score would stay that way until the three minute mark of the fourth quarter when Bryant Venson capped off a 37-yard drive with a 19-yard touchdown run to make the score 27-14. Venson made multiple cutbacks on the play to extend the run.
A late score from NSU, a 69-yard pass from Deaton to Jermaine Sherman would not be enough, as for the second week in a row, the Lions sat on the ball their final possession to win the game.
Southern had 325 yards on the ground to NSU's 52, while the Lions were out-passed 287 to 35. The Lions won the time of possession battle again this week holding the ball for nearly 35 minutes of the game.
Cox was the Lions leading rusher with 108 yards on eight carries and a touchdown. He had a long of 70 yards but was tripped up just shy of the end zone. Cox also completed 1-3 for ten yards, while Kyle Webster converted 2-4 for 25.
Ten different Lions carried the ball tonight, as Venson had 50 yards and a score and Threatt added 37 yards and two scores. Javonte Edwards had the most carries with 13 runs and 48 yards.
Defensively, Alex Wong led the way for the Lions. The senior had a team-high eight tackles. Aaron Hall had eight tackles, including one for a loss and an interception return of 12 yards, while Brandon Williams added seven tackles, two for a loss and a sack of six yards. Gary Combs added a sack of his own.
The Lions will be back in action next week when Southern travels to Jefferson City to take on Lincoln at 2 pm.