Football team opens at home against Washburn Ichabods

Jordan Larimore

One might think two weeks of preparation after a defeat to the No. 15 team in the nation would create a welcome environment for a home opener.

For Bart Tatum however, that home opener will match his team up against an even higher ranked team, No. 12 Washburn.

“Our football program is ready to roll back into the season,” Tatum said. “We had a nice break there, which we needed, we had a lot of things to correct from our first game. The guys have responded very well and we’re prepared to take on the No. 12 team in the nation in one poll, one poll has them 12, another has them 13, and they’re every bit that good.”

The main thing that plagued Southern in its season and conference-opening 42-24 loss to the University of Central Missouri was the big play. Mules quarterback threw a school record-tying six touchdowns on top of 397 yards through the air.

Tatum said his team’s focus in the extra week of practice (due to the bye week) was limiting turnovers as well as stopping “the long ball,” saying they’ve worked on those things for the 15 day break since his team last played.

He also mentioned substitution situations were an issue for the Lions against Central.

The Lions will see another top-tier quarterback in the Ichabods’ Dane Simoneau tomorrow. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.

“This opponent is probably better than the one we’ve played in game one, by a little bit anyway,” Tatum said. “We’ve got to up our ante.”

Senior offensive lineman Ian Saxton cited the line’s chemistry as something that was improved in the two weeks of practice since the Central loss.

“I had some new guys around me,” he said. “And I had to learn to play with them and that was great, having two weeks, we got to develop a great chemistry between me and my left guard, and the right guard. But definitely improve on fitting up to our assignments and staying on them, sometimes we were in the right spots, we just weren’t there long enough. And sometimes we weren’t so it’s definitely cleaning up your assignments.”

The Lions return nine starters on offense, six on defense and welcome back the entire field goal unit.