Lions meet Pitt State after back-to-back wins


Lions ready to face Pitt State at home 2014

Ian Taylor, Sports Editor

With their record evened at four the Lions (4-4, 4-4 MIAA) set their focus on the game of games, the Miners Bowl, the annual contest against Pittsburg State (7-1, 7-1 MIAA).

Last season Southern broke down the wall, defeating the Gorillas for the first time since 1993 and the first time in Pittsburg since 1983. As the game approaches this weekend the Lions find themselves and the Gorillas on much different paths, but regardless of the outcome, they are on yet another collision course.

“That’s all you can do is play as hard as you can, and they have been doing that,” said head coach Daryl Daye. “

Pitt State has had their way with the MIAA this season as they rank in the top three in more statistical categories than most have fingers and toes. They lead in scoring defense (10.2 point per game), pass offense (305.4 per game) and pass defense (137 yards per game), but much like last season the Lions present problems of their own.

Once again, Southern is the standard for the rushing attack as they lead the MIAA with a 306 yard average. But perhaps more importantly the offensive unit has seen resurgence under new signal caller Scott Lathrop, a junior transfer that has led the Lions for the past five games and brought life back to a passing game that was previously dead and gone.

A necessary wrinkle for the Southern offense is the need to pull out all the stops to upset the Gorillas, a team that just weeks ago beat the previously No.1 ranked Northwest Missouri Bearcats in dominant fashion.

Still for seniors on the Southern team the game comes down to the final opportunity to beat their bitter rivals, a notion some attempt to block out.

“In the back of my mind yes, but right now I’m enjoying every minute of it,’ said senior offensive linemen Caleb Benner. “Every day you get to come out to practice and enjoy every second of it because it’s not going to last forever you know.”

Last weekend the Lions headed to Lindenwood for the eighth contest of the season. The Lions got the ball rolling early, scoring 14 points in the opening quarter to take an 11 point advantage. As the game progressed the Lions did what they do best and dominated on the ground, racking up a lofty game total of 353 yards.

The defense put together another impressive outing, forcing four Lindenwood turnovers and as the game came to a close Southern took home the victory with a 31-17 score.