Southern falls 34-21 to seventh-ranked Central Missouri on Homecoming

Joplin, Mo. -- Central Missouri remained unbeaten in MIAA play as the visiting seventh-ranked Mules defeated the Missouri Southern Lions 34-21 today in front of a Homecoming crowd of 5,327. 

Southern (3-6, 1-6 MIAA) hung tough with the top offense in the MIAA as the Lions held Central (9-1, 8-0 MIAA) to 367 yards of total offense, just 62 on the ground. Central came into the game averaging over 500 yards of offense per game. 

Collin Howard threw for three touchdowns on 12-28 passing and gained 235 yards in the air. Landon Zerkel, Kellen Cox and D'Angelo Wood had a touchdown each. Cornell Gedward carried 20 times for 122 yards and averaged 6.1 per carry. 

Defensively, the Lions were led by Justin Cowper as the senior had ten stops and a pass break up. Kenny smith had eight tackles and three for a loss of nine yards. Brandon Williams had six tackles, 2.5 for a loss of nine, and added three pass break up and four quarterback hurries.

The Lions hurried Central's Eric Czerniewski 11 times, but the quarterback threw for 367 yards on 31-47 passing and four scores. 

The Lions got on the board first and took the opening drive down the field as a 30-yard pass and score from Howard to Zerkel got the Lions on top 7-0 early. Central answered with a 11 yard pass from Czerniewski to Anthony Stewart with 9:18 left int he first and added a 25-yard field goal from Aaron Jamieson with 27 seconds left in the first to go up 10-7. A 27-yard touchdown pass from Czerniewski to Jamorris Warren with 8:17 left in the second gave the Mules a 17-7 halftime lead.

Wood and Howard hooked up at the 11 minute mark of the third quarter to cut the lead to three at 17-14, but a seven-yard pass from Czerniewski to tight end DeMarco Cosby pushed the Mules' lead back to ten (24-14). 

Central added a 10-yard touchdown pass to Warren midway through the fourth and a 30-yard field goal from Jamieson with 1:22 left to go up 34-14. A 46-yard touchdown from Howard to Cox with 46 seconds left made the final tally 34-21. 

The Lions will be back in action next week when Southern travels to Fort Hays State.