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Defense keys 21-14 win over Central Missouri - KOAM TV 7

Defense keys 21-14 win over Central Missouri

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Press Release MSSU:

The MissouriSouthern defense picked up three sacks and held the Central Missouri offense tojust 200 yards, defeating the Mules 21-14 on Family Weekend at Fred G. HughesStadium. 

The Lions(4-1, 4-1 MIAA) had 427 yards rushing and 69 yards passing for 496 yards on theevening. It's the first time the Lions had defeated Central Missouri since the2006 season when Southern won 31-26 in Joplin. 

Central (2-3,1-3 MIAA) had just 26 yards on the ground and 174 through the air as theSouthern defense held the Mules to 246 yards fewer than the teamaverages. 

After theLions went four and out on their first drive, Central capitalized and scoredfirst. Quarterback Hayden Hawk hooked up with Ronrei Lloyd for 54 yards tostart the drive and Hawk hit Sean Gorman for six yards to put the Mules on top7-0. 

Southernanswered right back and JayMcDowell capped off a five-play, 80-yard drive with a two-yard rushingtouchdown to tie the game with 6:52 left in the first quarter. 

The Lionsforced a Central punt on their next possession, and less than two minutes intothe second quarter, JJJones took a pitch and ran two yards to put Southern up 14-7 with 13:33left. 

Another puntfrom the Mules on their next possession gave the Lions the ball on the Central46-yard line and Southern would put points on the board again as Jones thistime took a three-yard dive and make the score 21-7, Lions. Neither team wouldscore as the halftime score stood 21-7. 

Both teamswent scoreless in the third quarter as the Southern defense shined in thesecond half. A sack from GatlinRidgway on the Mules' first possession forced a punt, and the Lions heldstrong and forced a turnover on downs on Central's next possession. 

Anotherstrong defensive stand forced a Central punt shortly into the fourth quarterand the Lions started to march down field on their possession. However,Central's Ricky Spratley ripped the ball from the hands of GiresseForchu and return the ball five yards to the Southern 40-yard line settingup a Mules scoring opportunity. 

Central wouldconvert as Hawk completed a seven-yard scoring pass to Ray Harris to cut theLions' lead to just seven (21-14) with 8:09 left in the game. 

A McDowellpass was intercepted by the Mules' Zach Leinbaugh on the Lions next possession,but the defense again held strong and forced a four and out, giving the Lionsthe ball with 2:37 left on the clock. McDowell would waste little time as thequarterback scampered for a 49-yard gain on the first play of the drive to putthe Lions on the Mule's 45 yard line. ChrisBarnwell added a run of 22 yards on the drive and the Lions ran out theclock for the win. 

McDowellrushed for 225 yards on the night, becoming the first Southern quarterback torush for over 200 yards since Josh Chapman had 246 against Missouri-Rolla in2002. He also had 69 yards on 5-10 passing. Barnwell rushed for 65 yards, whileJones had two scores on the ground. 

DefensivelyRidgway led the way with eight tackles, a sack, a pass break up and threequarterback hurries. ElijahSwen and PacoVarol each had sacks, while Swen forced a fumble and added four pass breakups and a hurry. 

The Lionswill be back in action next weekend when Southern heads out of the MIAA to takeon South Dakota Mines on the road. Kickoff from Rapid City, SD will be slatedfor 2 pm central time, 1 pm mountain time. 

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