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MSSU Preps for Home Opener Vs. Western - KOAM TV 7

MSSU Preps for Home Opener Vs. Western

Updated:

RELEASE FROM MISSOURI SOUTHERN ATHLETICS:

Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern football team will open up a home slate of six games this Saturday as the Lions play host to Missouri Western. Kickoff from Fred G. Hughes Stadium inside the Plaster Sports Complex is slated for 6 pm on Saturday.

Game Information
Team Records: MSSU - 0-1, 0-1 MIAA | MWSU - 1-0, 1-0 MIAA
Date: Saturday, September 10, 2016
Kick-Off: 6 pm, CT
Location: Joplin, Mo.
Site: Fred G. Hughes Stadium | Robert W. Plaster Sports Complex (7,000)
Series Record: The series is tied at 23-23
Coaches: Denver Johnson (1-11 at MSSU, 70-77 overall) | Jerry Partridge 146-75 overall/at MWSU)

Media Coverage
MSSU Radio: ESPN Joplin 101.3, 103.5 FM and AM 1560; 88.7 FM KXMS - Mike McClure, Play-by-Play, Scott Boudreaux, Color
Video Webcast: http://portal.stretchinternet.com/mssu/
Live Stats: http://sidearmstats.com/fhsu/football
Lions on Facebook: Facebook.com/mososports
Lions on Twitter: @mososports; @mosofootball

The Series: The all-time series record between the two teams is tied at 23-23. That mark includes a 13-11 mark at Fred G. Hughes Stadium and 10-12 in St. Joseph. The Lions have won three of the last seven against the Griffons, including a huge fourth-quarter comeback against then 12th ranked Western in 2009 in St. Joseph and another fourth-quarter comeback in 2012 in St. Joseph against then fourth-ranked Western. Southern dominated the series with the Griffons early on, winning the first five meetings in a row, and ten out of the first 13, but the series is split in the last six meetings. The largest margin of victory for the Lions was in two separate games (1970 & 1972 - 45 points), and for the Griffons was in 2015 (42).

The Dish On The Griffons: The Griffons are coming off of a week one win when they defeated Nebraska-Kearney 44-21 at home. Western is led offensively this year by the combo of Josh Caldwell running the ball and Skyler Windmiller passing it. Caldwell rushed the ball 23 times against UNK and gained 168 yards and a score. Windmiller went 11-20 with 160 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Kendall Short (62 yards, 1 TD), as well as Derek Gray (46 yards, 1 TD) and Corey Bertini all have a touchdown on the ground this year, while Patrick Bolton and Dijuan Ussery both have a score through the air. Defensively, the Griffons are led by Donte Watkins with ten stops and two interceptions. Tyrell Robinson has six stops, including one behind the line of scrimmage, while Brandin Dandridge has the other interception on the year. Western picked off three Lopers passes in their week one opener. The Griffons are ranked eighth nationally in that category and second in the MIAA. Western comes back home next weekend to play host to Central Missouri at 6 pm.

A Victory vs. Missouri Western Would: stop a three-game winning streak for the Griffons. It would give the Lions and the Griffons a split of the previous eight meetings.

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.

NFL Leaders: Brandon Williams has become a leader on the defense for the Baltimore Ravens, shoring their defensive line. Last year, the third-year pro had a career-high 52 tackles and two sacks. He was listed by many as a notable snub for the NFL Pro Bowl in 2015. Allen Barbre will be in his second year as a starter on the offensive line for the Eagles and head coach Doug Pedersen is very high on Barbre, naming him the starter prior to training camp. Barbre started all 16 games for the Eagles in 2015.

NFL Executive: Former Lion and former NFL wide receiver James Thrash is in his second season serving as the NFL and NFLPA's Appeals Officer. He hears all appeals for the NFL regarding on-field player discipline. Thrash played 12 seasons in the NFL for the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles.

Lions On Radio: The Lions will partner with ESPN Joplin this year as Southern can now be heard on three separate FM stations, as well as an AM station. ESPN Joplin will air the Lions' games on 101.3 and 103.5 FM, as well as AM 1560. MSSU's KXMS 88.7 will also simulcast the games giving the Lions a larger reach in the four-states than they've ever had.

Tough League/Region: The MIAA has two teams in the coaches top 25 this week. Northwest Missouri is 1st, while Central Missouri is 16th. The Super Region Three, which the Lions are a part of, has eight teams in the top 25. There are 16 teams total that are either ranked or receiving votes in the poll from the region.

Lions On TV: Missouri Southern's KGCS will air every Lions home game live this year during the season. They will also re-broadcast the games on Sunday evenings at 7 pm.

Lions On The Web: All of MSSU's football games are carried live online as part of the MIAA's streaming contract with Stretch Internet. Fans can view games live by clicking on the link on www.mssulions.com.

New Coaches: Bill Bleil (offensive line) and Darius Hart (defensive line) will join the Lions this year on coach Denver Johnson's staff. Bleil comes to Southern from the University of Rhode Island, while Hart previously coached at Trinity Valley Community College.

MIAA Preseason Poll: Missouri Southern was picked 10th by the coaches and 11th by the media in the annual MIAA Preseason Poll the league released in early August. Defending National Champion Northwest Missouri was the pick by both the coaches and the media to repeat as League champs.

Call Me A Hall Of Famer: Allen Barbre will go into the Missouri Southern Athletics Hall of Fame this year. Barbre was a multiple All-American offensive lineman in his four-year career for the Lions and is now a starter with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Expanded Roster: Last season, the Lions carried between 80-90 players on their roster and that provided depth issues for the team. This year, Southern has between 130-140 players, much more to the liking of head coach Denver Johnson.

Record Setter: TJ Fleeton tied his own school record this past week as he completed 36 passes against Fort Hays. He tied the record he had previously set last season, ironically against FHSU.

Welcome back: Southern welcomed back a pair of former starters to the lineup after both had sat out last year with an injury. Lars Lindquist and Scott Lathrop are both back, but both are playing different positions. Lindquist has moved to the offensive line after serving as a starter on the other side, while Lathrop will move from quarterback to receiver.

Weather Report: The weather report for the Joplin area on Saturday calls for partly cloudy conditions and a high of 75 degrees with a 20 percent chance of participation.

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