JOPLIN -- A 38-yard touchdown run by Southwest Baptist's Robert McWright with 6:32 to go in the fourth quarter lifted the visiting Bearcats over Missouri Southern 16-13 tonight in football action at Fred G. Hughes Stadium.
Southern (3-1, 3-1 MIAA) falls to SBU for just the fourth time in the 21-game series.
The Bearcats (1-3, 1-3 MIAA) win their first game of the season and just the first time in the last seven years against the Lions.
SBU got on the board first and led 3-0 at halftime after a 33-yard field goal from John Colliver with four seconds left on the clock.
The Bearcats added a 10-yard touchdown pass from Dan Connors to Zach Sohn just three minutes into the third quarter to go up 10-0.
After the Lions held SBU to a three and out, Ne'Ronte Threatt took a punt to the house for a 40-yard touchdown return to bring the Lions to within three at 10-7 with 7:19 left in the third quarter.
The Lions' defense held the Bearcats to back-to-back three and outs to nearly close out the third quarter before fullback Anthony Thayer broke off a 42-yard run nearly to pay dirt, but was tackled at the SBU three yard line. Kellen Cox would finish off the drive and dive in from one to put the Lions up 13-10 after the point after failed.
SBU drove nearly to the end zone on its next possession, but Demon Haire came up big with an interception in the end zone to stop the drive.
The Lions would get to their own 44 yard line on the next drive, but couldn't convert a fourth and one and gave the ball back to SBU. The Bearcats took advantage of the turnover on downs and in four plays, had the game-winner from McWright.
Cox led the Lions' offense tonight, carrying the ball 30 times for 116 yards and a score. he also completed 4-7 through the air for 52 yards. Landon Zerkel, Travis Hurd, Giresse Forchu and Threatt all caught a pass.
Defensively, Brandon Williams had one of his best games of his career. He had a career-high 11 tackles, with three tackles behind the line of scrimmage, two sacks, two forced fumbles and a quarterback hurry. The two sacks gives him 22.5 for his career, just a half a sack from tying Kent Shorten for the school record in the category.
Alex Wong led the Lions in tackles with 12, while Haire, Brian Rodgers and Jonathan Rogers all had seven tackles each. Jonathan Rogers and Aaron Hall combined for a sack, while Gatlin Ridgway added his first collegiate sack.
The Lions will be back in action next weekend, when Southern travels to Central Missouri for a 1:30 pm kickoff with the Mules.