Southern welcomes UNO for Homecoming

Senior running back Johnny Johnson eludes defenders as Colin Howard and Chris Norris throw blocks.

Senior running back Johnny Johnson eludes defenders as Colin Howard and Chris Norris throw blocks.

Jordan Larimore

There’s no place like home.

Playing in front of their own fans, more than 4,000 of them for that matter, seems to be all Colin Howard and the Lions needed to have a breakout game.

In their home opener, the Lions looked to have figured things out on both sides of the ball.

Howard, who hadn’t quite come into his own in the first three games of the season, found his groove to the tune of 204 yards and four touchdowns.

Howard seems to have found a couple of favorite targets in wideouts Daniel Thompson and Landon Zerkel, who caught two of Howard’s scoring passes apiece.

However even the Lions’ 34-point attack did not satisfy Head Coach Bart Tatum.

“Our production was no different, we weren’t great on offense last week,” he said. “We’re nowhere near where we could be.”

Defensively though, even Tatum had trouble finding anything to complain about in the victory.

“We had some guys step up,” he said. “I was just so proud of how our defensive unit came together, played together and got the job done.”

Although injuries held out both starting safeties, as well as preseason All-American linebacker Jared Brawner, the Lions’ defense held Emporia State to only 13 points and forced a season-high seven turnovers. Six of those turnovers were interceptions, tying a single-game school record for the Hornets.

“Any win in the MIAA is a confidence builder,” said defensive back Terrance Scott. “We’re excited about the challenge ahead. Injuries are just a part of it and we’re gonna move forward and play football”

The Lions are hoping this weekend will be just as big when the Mavericks of Nebraska-Omaha attempt to spoil homecoming weekend for Missouri Southern. Along with the many festivities of homecoming, Southern will induct five new members into its Athletic Hall Of Fame.

“We understand what’s ahead of us,” Tatum said. “All of our thoughts are going towards UNO”

Tatum and his players both believe that a major key to the game will be how the Lions respond to the physicality and size of the Mavericks on both sides of the ball.

“We’ve got our hands full because you know they’re gonna be coached well and they’re gonna play hard,” Tatum said.

UNO will be coming off a ten point loss to the MIAA powerhouse Northwest Missouri Bearcats. The Mavericks are 1-1 in conference as they routed Truman State 38-0 in the third week of the season.

They will be a serious test for the Lions as they have scored at least 27 points in every game so far this year.