Harding 32, MSSU 27

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By Jacob W. Brower???A 17-point lead in the first half was not enough to lead Missouri Southern to a win Saturday as they fell 32-27 to the Harding (Ark.) Bisons.The Lions jumped to a 21-3 lead going into the break, but Harding responded with 29 unanswered points and thwarted a Lions comeback attempt late in the fourth quarter.Lions head coach John Ware said he saw many positive things out of his team, but believes his players did not show the confidence needed to pull out a victory.”When 70 percent of the team is made up of freshmen, you can take a lot of positives out of how hard we played,” Ware said, “but we’re a young team. We still have to get better in all aspects and our guys have to learn some confidence.”Southern had a chance to extend its lead late in the second quarter when freshman defensive tackle Bobby Odoir recovered a Bison fumble on the Harding 16-yard line, but the Lions’ chances ended when they fumbled the ball at the 20-yard line and had the ball returned by Harding defensive back Torrance Daniels to the Southern 1-yard line to end the half. Wide receiver Tyson Basore saved the touchdown, but Ware said he believes the play shifted the momentum in the Bisons’ direction.”They got the momentum when we couldn’t take advantage of that fumble,” he said. “Football is a game that can change quickly. We’ve got to instill in the team that we don’t lose games like that.”After a scoreless first quarter, Harding drew first blood with a 13-play, 75-yard drive, which was capped off with a Ben Davis field goal. Southern wasted no time responding on their next drive when sophomore running back Wentric Williams carried the ball 28 yards, setting up a short Nathan Emert pass which wide receiver Demarcus Mathes turned into a long 57-yard touchdown. The Brandon Hawkins extra point was good, putting Southern up 7-3.A fumble recovery by Moses Manga on a Harding punt return set up an 18-yard touchdown strike from Emert to wide receiver Tedaryl Mason with 10:14 left in the half. The Hawkins extra point was good, putting Southern up 14-3.With a little over a minute left in the first half, Southern cornerback Floyd Ike picked off a Adam Lybrand pass and returned it 50 yards to paydirt. The Hawkins extra point was good, making the halftime score Southern 21-3.The Harding comeback began with 9:26 left in the third quarter when a 49-yard pass from Lybrand to wide receiver Joe Price set up a 21-yard Davis field goal. After Southern was forced to punt on the following drive, the Bisons produced a 7-play, 46-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Dontray Thomas. The Davis extra point was good, cutting Southern’s lead to 21-13.A little over two minutes into the fourth quarter, the Bisons ended a six minute, 55 yard drive when Lybrand found fullback Kyle Wess in the endzone for a 1-yard touchdown catch, reducing the Lions’ lead to 21-19. The two-point conversion pass attempt by Lybrand fell incomplete. The Bisons put themselves in position to take the lead when Harding free safety Reggie Knighton intercepted an Emert pass on the ensuing drive and returned it to the Lions 8-yard line. Lybrand took the ball in the endzone on the following play, giving Harding a 25-21 lead. The two-point pass attempt by Lybrand fell incomplete.After Southern was forced to punt on its next possession, Harding chewed up nearly five minutes on a 99-yard drive, which was capped off by a 1-yard Lybrand touchdown run. The Davis extra point attempt was good, giving Harding a 32-21 lead.Southern responded on its next possession when Emert and Mason connected once again for a 3-yard touchdown with 1:13 left in the game, reducing the defecit to 32-27, but Emert’s two-point conversion pass attempt failed and the following onsides kick was recovered by Harding. After converting on third down, Lybrand kneeled down, preserving the victory. The Lions are now 1-1 for the season. They open up MIAA conference play on Saturday with a visit to the University of Missouri-Rolla.

SCORINGHU 0 3 10 19 MSSU 0 21 0 6

First QuarterNone

Second QuarterHU – 14:50 – Ben Davis 23-yard field goal. MSSU – 14:16 – Demarcus Mathes 57-yard pass from Nathan Emert. (Brandon Hawkins kick.) MSSU – 10:14 – Tedaryl Mason 18-yard pass from Emert. (Hawkins kick.) MSSU – 1:09 – Floyd Ike 50-yard interception return. (Hawkins kick.)

Third QuarterHU – 9:26 – Davis 21-yard field goal.HU – 5:23 – Dondtray Thomas 1-yard run. (Davis kick.)

Fourth QuarterHU – 12:43 – Kyle Wess 1-yard pass from Adam Lybrand. (Lybrand pass failed.)HU – 11:49 – Lybrand 8-yard run. (Lybrand pass failed.)HU – 3:21 – Lybrand 1-yard run. (Davis kick.)MSSU – 1:13 – Mason pass from Emert. (Emert pass failed).

HU MSSUFirst downs 25 16Rushes-yards 52-240 25-81Passing 34-216 40-267Total offense 456 348 Fumbles-lost 3-3 2-2Interceptions thrown 2 3 Turnovers 5 5Time of possession 36:04 23:56

PASSING: MSSU, Nathan Emert 19-40-3-267; HU, Adam Lybrand 17-31-2-208, Cam Rowan 2-3-0-8.

RUSHING: MSSU, Wentri Williams 6-47, Ryan Talton 6-25, Nathan Emert 6-24, Nate Proctor 3-3, Dustin Bromley 1-3, Colin Bado 1-1, Tony Gillespie 1-0; HU Dontray Thomas 22-107, Adam Lybrand 14-107, Blake Smith 10-46, Kyle Wess 1-1, Cam Rowan 1-1, Nick Noel 1-0, DeJuan Patton 1-(-2).

RECEIVING: MSSU, Demarcus Mathes 5-86, Tedaryl Mason 5-47, Tyson Basore 3-58, Dustin Bromley 2-54, Craig Winfrey 2-1, Ryan Talton 1-14, Nate Proctor 1-7; HU, Joe Price 5-125, Tobias Brown 3-37, David Feliciano 3-11, Heath Adams 1-12, Darrick Ware 1-11, Joel Laird 1-8, Jordan Huckeba 1-6, Nick Noel 1-5, Kyle Wess 1-1.