Lions rush to 47-20 win against South Dakota Mines on Homecoming

Joplin, Mo. -- Kellen Cox rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another as the Lions racked up 421 yards rushing and nearly 500 yards total in a 47-20 Homecoming win over visiting South Dakota Mines today at Hughes Stadium.

Southern (4-2) had ten different players rush the ball as the 421 on the ground came close to the all-time mark of 503 set against Emporia State in 1970. 

Mines (1-5) had 436 yards of their own with 160 on the ground and 165 through the air. 

The Lions got on top first when Ne'Ronte Threatt capped off a nine play, 72-yard drive with a six-yard score. On the ensuing possession, Gatlin Ridgway picked off a SDMINES pass and ran it back for a 43-yard interception return to give the Lions a 14-0 lead. 

Mines added a score with 1:58 left in the first on a seven-yard run from Jahmel Rover to make the tally 14-7, but the Lions added two more scores in the second quarter, a 56-yard run from Cox and a 16-yard run from Travis Hurd to go up 28-7 at the half. 

Cox added another score on a three-yard scamper into the endzone to go up 35-7 and four minutes later hooked up with Landon Zerkel on a 58-yard pass and score to give the Lions a 41-7 lead. Freshman Jay McDowell added an 80-yard touchdown run six minutes into the fourth quarter to put Southern up 47-7 and two late scores by the Hardrockers would make the final tally 47-20. 

Cox rushed for 90 yards and two scores, while throwing for 72 and a score. McDowell led the rushing attack with 106 yards and a score, while Hurd added 80 yards on the ground. Zerkel picked up a pass for 58 yards and a touchdown, while Bryant Venson caught a pass for 14 yards, as well. 

Defensively, Ridgway was the star as he had nine stops, one tackle for a loss, one forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception. Brandon Williams had six tackles and a half sack, but the half sack was good enough to tie him for the all-time lead at Southern with Kent Shorten. He now has 23 in his career. Alex Wong had seven stops, while Donterrius Thomas picked up an interception. 

The Lions will be back in action next weekend, when Southern travels to fifth ranked Missouri Western to take on the Griffons. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 pm.