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MSSU Football Returns Home VS. UCO - KOAM TV 7

MSSU Football Returns Home VS. UCO

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RELEASE FROM MISSOURI SOUTHERN ATHLETICS:

Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern football team will come back home this Saturday as the Lions play host to visiting Central Oklahoma. Kickoff from Fred G. Hughes Stadium inside the Robert W. Plaster Sports Complex is slated for 6 pm. 

Game Information
Team Records: MSSU - 1-4, 1-4 MIAA | UCO - 1-4, 1-4 MIAAA
Date: Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015
Kick-Off: 6:00 p.m., CT
Location: Joplin, Mo.
Site: Fred G. Hughes Stadium (7,000)
Series Record:  MSSU leads the series 2-1
CoachesDenver Johnson (1-4 at MSSU, 70-70 overall) | Nick Bobeck (12-20 overall/at UCO)

Media Coverage
MSSU Radio: FM 99.7 Real American Country - Mike McClure, Play-by-Play, Scott Boudreaux, Color
Video Webcast: http://portal.stretchinternet.com/mssu/
Live Stats: http://sidearmstats.com/mssu/football
Lions on Facebook:  Facebook.com/mososports
Lions on Twitter: @mososports; @mosofootball

The Coaches

Denver Johnson was named the 13th head coach in Missouri Southern history on April 1, 2015. He comes to Southern after serving four seasons at the University of Tulsa as the Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator.  In his four seasons at Tulsa, four of his offensive linemen earned first-team all-league accolades, including Stetson Burnett (2013), Brian DeShane and Jared Grigg (2012) and Clint Anderson (2011). Tyler Holmes was an honorable mention performer in 2011 and spent the 2012 season with the Minnesota Vikings. Johnson coached an offensive line that helped pave the way for a 1,000-yard rusher in two of his final three seasons at Tulsa. In 2012, Tulsa's offense ranked fourth nationally for fewest sacks allowed, ninth for rushing offense, 21st for fewest tackles for lost yardage allowed and 28th for total offense. Johnson has spent a total of 30 years coaching college football. In the summer of 2012, Johnson was awarded the Merv Johnson Integrity in College Coaching Award by the Jim Thorpe Association. Johnson has been the head coach at two Division I institutions garnering a 69-66 overall record in 12 seasons at Murray State and Illinois State.  An All-Missouri Valley Conference offensive lineman as a senior for Tulsa, Johnson was an eighth round draft choice by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1981. He spent two years (1981-82) with the Bucs and three seasons in the USFL, playing two years (1983-84) with the Los Angeles Express and the 1985 season with the Houston Gamblers. Johnson's USFL tenure included playing stints with NFL Hall of Fame quarterbacks Jim Kelly and Steve Young. Johnson earned his bachelor's degree in business management from Tulsa in 1981. He and his wife, Danita Kay, have two daughters: Taylor and Kelsey.

Nick Bobeck is in his fourth year at the helm and led the Bronchos to an 8-4 record in 2014 with a third-place finish in the rugged Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association after the team was predicted to come in 10th in the 12-team league by conference coaches. It was UCO's first winning season since 2008 and the first eight-win campaign since 2004.  The Bronchos also made their first post-season appearance since 2003, playing in the Mineral Water Bowl game. Bobeck, who became UCO's 13th head coach on Jan. 4, 2012 following a sparkling four-year head coaching stint at junior college powerhouse Navarro (Texas) College, has a 13-24 record with the Bronchos.

The Series: This is just the fourth meeting all-time between the two schools with the Lions holding a 2-1 advantage. The Lions defeated Central Oklahoma 25-20 in 2012 in Edmond in the season-opener and also won 52-38 in 2014. UCO picked up a triple overtime win last year in a thriller in Edmond. 

The Dish On The Bronchos:

Central is coming off of its first win of the season, a 36-24 win at home to Nebraska-Kearney. The Bronchos lost the first four games of the season to Fort Hays, Missouri Western, Emporia State and Northwest Missouri. UCO is led offensively by its quarterback, Chas Stallard. Stallard has 968 yards through the air with six touchdowns, as well as 310 yards on the ground with two scores. Clay McKenzie leads the Bronchos with 464 yards on 76 carries and five touchdowns. JT Luber is Stallard's favorite receiver as he has pulled down 34 receptions for 333 yards. Caden Locke has 17 catches for 171 yards and two scores, while Connor Pulley has ten receptions for 156 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, Malcolm Howard has 71 tackles on the season with five stops behind the line of scrimmage. David Busby is one of three Bronchos with a single interception, while Ben Jones leads the team with three sacks. As a team, the Bronchos average 191 yards per game rushing and 198 through the air. They are giving up 445 yards per game, while gaining 388. UCO will be back in action next week when the Bronchos play host to Central Missouri. Kickoff from Edmond is slated for 2 pm. 

A Victory vs. UCO Would:  be the third win in the four overall games in the series with the Bronchos.    

NFL Representation: The Lions will have two different starters on NFL rosters to start the season. Brandon Williams is a starter on the defensive line for the Baltimore Ravens, while Allen Barbre will start on the offensive line for the Philadelphia Eagles.  

NCAA Stat Leaders:  The Lions rank 15th nationally in fourth down conversion defense, while ranking 23rd in passes intercepted and 25th in  tackles for a loss. Southern ranks 29th in fewest penalties per game, while ranking 40th and 57th in fewest penalty yards and fewest penalty yards per game. The team also ranks 43rd in sacks allowed, 35th in turnovers gained and 44th in turnover margin, while ranking 45th in blocked kicks allowed. 

MIAA Stat Leaders: The Lions lead the MIAA fourth down defense, while ranking second in sacks allowed and third in tackles for a loss. The team ranks fourth in turnovers gained, fumbles recovered and blocked kicks allowed. They rank fifth in turnovers lost, turnover margin, fumbles lost, fewest penalties and fewest penalties per game. 

Individual National Leaders: Ricky Green and Johnquavious McBride rank 16th nationally in interceptions. The duo rank 39th nationally in passes defended and solo tackles, respectively. Brock Renken ranks 45th in field goal percentage, while Stetson Broce ranks 48th in punting.  

MIAA Individual Leaders: Green and McBride ranks second in the MIAA in interceptions, while the pair rank sixth in passes defended and solo tackles, respectively. Broce ranks third in the MIAA in punting, while Renken ranks sixth in the league in field goal percentage.  

Spread the Wealth: The Lions had eight different players catch a pass in week one, four and five, while seven caught passes in week two and three. Six different players rushed the ball in week one, while seven got a rush in week two and five in week three and four. In 2014, only ten different players caught a pass all season, while 15 have caught a pass already this year. 

Tough League/Region: The MIAA has three teams in the coaches top 25 this week. Northwest Missouri is third, while Pittsburg State is 13th and Emporia State is 18th. The Super Region Three, which the Lions are a part of, has nine teams in the top 25. There are 15 teams total that are either ranked or receiving votes in the poll from the region. 

Two-Minute Drill:  TJ Fleeton near perfectly executed the two-minute drill against Washburn. The Lions took the ball at their own 25-yard line with 1:16 left in the game and drove inside the WU ten-yard line, but couldn't complete the drive. 

Broce With The Boot:  Stetson Broce had a career game against Washburn. The junior had ten punts for 439 yards and an average of 43.9 per kick. He had three over 50 yards, including a 59-yarder and two inside the 50 with one landing at the one-yard line.  

Morrison Is Big Time:  Jordan Morrison nearly single-handedly got the Lions out of their own side of the field on the final drive against Washburn. The junior caught passes of 10, 9 and 8 yards to put the Lion inside WU territory.  

Ricky Green With The Pick:  Junior Ricky Green had another interception in the game at Washburn. He currently ranks 16th nationally in picks and 2nd in the MIAA in the category. He also ranks 39th nationally in passes defended, while ranking 6th the MIAA. 

Innterceptions 'R Us:  The Lions had an interception this past weekend at Central Missouri asJohnquavious McBride picked off a pass to return it 25 yards. EJ McKenzie and Ricky Green both have multiple interception games this season. The Lions, as a team, have eight interceptions this year. 

Welcome Back Kenny:  Defensive Coordinator Kenny Evans is back in green and gold for MSSU. Evans spent nine seasons on the late John Lantz's staff at Missouri Southern from 1989-97 where he helped guide the program into the ranks of NCAA Division II and help MSSU go 51-35 during that stretch.  

Defensive Depth:  The Lions return five starters on defense from a season ago. Of the 11 starters on defense, however, ten saw significant time over the previous two seasons for MSSU.

Defense Have A Game:  The Missouri Southern defense came up big against UNK with the Lions' defenders providing five sacks, 12 tackles for a loss, 13 pass break ups and 10 quarterback hurries. 

Weather Report:  The weather report for the Joplin area on Saturday calls for a high of 73 degrees with mostly sunny conditions and a zero percent chance of rain. 

Up Next:  The Lions will head back out on the road to travel to Tahlequah, Okla. and take on Northeastern State next Saturday. Kickoff from Doc Wadley Stadium is slated for 1 pm.

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