St. Joseph, Mo. - The Missouri Southern football team scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, capped off by a 10-yard touchdown pass from Roland Thompson to Daniel Thompson with 12 seconds left and defeated 12th ranked Missouri Western, 35-34 in St. Joseph today.
The Lions (3-5, 3-4 MIAA) get their first win in St. Joseph since 1997 and their first win over a ranked opponent since 2001 when the Lions defeated 11th ranked Central Missouri 35-13 at home. Daniel Thompson caught a career-high 160 yards in the air and came down with a career-high three touchdowns in the win. Roland Thompson went 22-41 and 248 yards with four touchdown passes, all career-highs for the junior. Johnny Johnson had 72 yards on seven carries and Toderick Hunt had 68 yards on 18 carries.
The Lions drove to the Missouri Western 21-yard line on their opening drive behind a 37-yard kickoff return from Ne'Ronte Threat and 33 yards on the ground from Hunt. The drive would stall, however, when Thompson threw an interception to the Griffon's Ian Thompson at the four yard line.
Western (7-2, 5-2 MIAA) took just three plays to take an early lead as Drew Newhart evaded the Lion's defensive pressure in the back field and found a wide open Ferrell McGhee for a 91-yard touchdown pass.
The Lions answered right back and tied the game. Threat, again had a big part in the drive as he and Thompson hooked up for a 56 yard catch to the Western 15 yard line on the first play of the drive. Hunt capped off the drive with a three-yard touchdown run to tie the game at seven.
The Lions went ahead 14-7 after a 20-yard touchdown pass from Roland Thompson to Daniel Thompson. The score gives Daniel Thompson a touchdown in nine of his last ten games.
Western would tie the game late in the first when Newhart and McGhee hooked up again, this time for 32 yards. A 34-yard field goal from Western's Brad Beckwith gave the Griffons a 17-14 lead at the half.
The Griffons opened up the scoring in the second half when Beckwith nailed a 20-yard field goal to give the Griffons a 20-14 lead and after a Lion fumble on the ensuing possession, Michael Hill gave Western a 27-14 lead with a 24-yard scamper to the end zone. Newhart made the score 34-14 after a 20-yard pass to Adam Clausen.
Roland Thompson and Daniel Thompson hooked up on the first play of the fourth quarter for a 39-yard pass to make the score 34-21. The Lions' defense came up huge on the ensuing possession and after forcing a punting situation, the punt was dropped by Beckwith and the Lions Charles Johnson tackled him for a 17-yard loss. Southern capitalized on the mistake and Thompson threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Landon Zerkel to make the score 34-28.
The Southern defense again, coming up strong in the fourth quarter, and forced a Griffon turnover when Rudy Mascaro sacked Newhart and forced a fumble that David Benham picked up to give the Lions the ball back. Both the Lions and the Griffons would punt on their next possessions, but the Lions took the ball on their own 29-yard line with just over two minutes left and began the final drive.
The drive featured a fourth down conversion on a run from Hunt, before Roland Thompson took over. Passes to Isaac Norman, a 12-yarder, and Daniel Thompson, a 15-yarder set up the game-winning score to Daniel Thompson with 12 seconds left on the clock.
Dusty Bratzler had a career-high 15 tackles, including one forced fumble. Antwoine Brown had ten tackles, and Mascaro added eight with 2.5 tackles for a loss of 13. Jairius Jarvis moved into second place all-time on the single-season sacks list with his one on the day. Jarvis had six tackles with three for a loss of seven yards. The Lions, as a whole had ten tackles for a loss of 55 yards, including two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and seven pass breakups. They also blocked a punt.
Southern will be back on the road next weekend as the Lions will travel to 21st ranked Central Missouri for a 1:30 pm kickoff in Warrensburg.