Mistakes give Northwest Missouri State opportunity for win

Jacob W. Brower

What started out looking like a good showing by Missouri Southern on Saturday soon turned ugly as No. 4 Northwest Missouri State rattled off 31 unanswered points en route to a 55-19 drubbing of the Lions.

After exchanging punts to open the game, the Lions conducted a 10-play 98-yard drive that was capped off by a 16-yard reverse run by junior wide receiver Tedaryl Mason.

The extra point by Brandon Hawkins was good, giving Southern a 7-0 lead.

It was the last time Southern would lead in the game, which saw the Bearcats out-gain the Lions with 606 yards to the Lions’ 419.

Lions’ head coach John Ware said he believes his team’s initial scoring drive forced NWMSU to restructure its game plan.

“I think they were a little bit shocked with what we were able to do,” Ware said.

“I think that changed the framework of the game. We didn’t stack up as poorly, physically, as I thought we might, it was just mental mistakes that changed the tide of the game. It wasn’t things that the casual fan might see, just missed assignments on some of the plays that put [NWMSU] in good position.”

The Lions kept to the air most of the game due to a stifling Bearcat defensive front that held the team to only eight rushing yards.

Wentric Williams, the MIAA’s second-leading rusher, was held to 19 yards and a score on 12 carries and Mason was the only Lion to average more than two yards per carry on his lone touchdown run.

Freshman quarterback Nathan Emert completed more than 63 percent of his passes for 419 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

Senior wide receiver DeMarcus Mathes led the Lions with nine catches for 127 yards.

Other Lions with receptions included junior receiver Dustin Bromley (five snags for 91 yards), Mason (five for 42 and a score), senior wide out Craig Winfrey (four for 46), senior tight end Cody Hilburn (three for 33), junior wide receiver Tyson Basore (three for 22), freshman receiver Colin Bado (two for 33), Williams (two for 14) and freshman wideout Otis Taylor (one 13-yard catch).

Senior cornerback Robert Spinks picked off NWMSU quarterback Josh Lamberson twice and added three tackles on the game while sophomore defensive end Elbert Johnson and senior linebacker Dan Jefferson led the team with a sack each. Johnson led the team with eight tackles and Jefferson recorded seven tackles, three of which were for a loss.

The Lions fell to 3-2 in the MIAA and 4-3 overall, while the Bearcats improved its perfect record to 5-0 in the conference and 7-0 overall.