MSSU Picks up First Win of the Season - KOAM TV 7

MSSU Picks up First Win of the Season



Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern football team scored ten un-answered points in the second half and held on for a 24-14 victory over visiting Nebraska-Kearney in the Hall of Fame Game tonight at Fred G. Hughes Stadium inside the Robert W. Plaster Sports Complex. 

Southern (1-2, 1-2 MIAA) wins game number one under head coach Denver Johnson. The Lions picked up three touchdowns from TJ Fleeton as the quarterback rushed for two and threw for another. He had 15 yards on the ground and went 13-22 for 194 yards and a score in the air. Terrell Crawford caught five passes for 52 yards, but the big catch came from Chad Nolan as he busted open a screen pass for a 73-yard touchdown reception. Will Gregory rushed for 49 yards, while Jay Hadley added 37. 

Kearney (0-3, 0-3 MIAA) gained 180 yards on the ground, led by 116 from Romero Cotton. Quarterback Bronson Marsh went 16-41 for 96 yards and a touchdown and interception. 

Southern won the toss and deferred to the second half. The defense forced the Lopers to punt on their first possession and the Lions turned that punt into points as Fleeton completed a 10-play drive for 62 yards with a one-yard sneak into the endzone to put the Lions up 7-0 early on. 

The Lopers' next possession lasted just two plays as Marsh's pass on the second play was intercepted by Johnquavious McBride at the Southern 35 yard line. UNK, however, would get on the board as the first quarter ended when Marsh hit Tityus Mitchell for an eight-yard score. 

Fleeton added his second rushing touchdown of the half, this time with 8:54 left in the second quarter to end a scoring drive that went just three plays and 33 yards. The Lions went into the locker room with a 14-7 lead at the break. 

Southern went three-and-out on its first possession of the second half and Kearney scored quick as Cotton picked up a 33-yard score to tie the game at 14. 

Brock Renken added a 26-yard field goal on the Lions' next possession to put Southern up 17-14 and Fleeton found Nolan for a 73-yard catch and run to provide the final tally. 

Defensively, the star of the game was McBride. The junior had a game-high 14 tackles with an interception and two pass break-ups. Kyjuan Tate had eight stops, while Justin Tomlinson had seven tackles, a sack, two stops for a loss of 14 yards and a pass breakup. Chris Williams had two sacks for a loss of 20 yards, while David Smith and Laynce Sanders had a sack each. The Lions, as a team, had 12 stops for a loss of 50 yards, 13 pass break ups and ten quarterback hurries. 

Offensively, Southern passed for 194 yards and 296 total in the game. The Lions averaged 14.9 yards per completion and had five sacks for 37 yards lost. 

Southern will be back in action next weekend when the Lions travel to Washburn University. Kickoff is slated for 1 pm. 

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