Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern football team will open up the 2013 season this Thursday when the Lions play host to Central Oklahoma inside Fred G. Hughes Stadium at the Robert W. Plaster Sports Complex. Kickoff is slated for 6 pm.
The SERIES: This is just the second meeting all-time between the two schools. The Lions defeated Central Oklahoma 25-20 last season in Edmond in the season-opener for both schools.
The Coaches: Daryl Daye is in his second season as the head coach at Missouri Southern. Last year, he led the Lions to a 6-5 record, the first winning season since 2007. After installing a triple-option offensive attack, the Lions set school records for rushing yards and rushing attempts, while tying a school record for rushing touchdowns. Daye came back to Southern after serving two seasons with the NFL's Buffalo Bills as Assistant to the Head Coach. He assisted Defensive Coordinator Dave Wannstedt in coaching the inside linebackers and also helped to coach the special teams units. Prior to his stint with the Bills, Daye served for four years with the Lions as the team's defensive coordinator. In 2008, the Lions led the MIAA in pass defense. Southern held its opponents to 172 passing yards per game and recorded 58 tackles for a loss, 15 sacks and recovered all 15 fumbles the team forced.The 2007 MSSU defense helped the Lions to their first winning season in 12 years. The defense led the MIAA in total defense for the 1st time in school history and also led the MIAA pass defense, opponents' first downs, passing efficiency and were ranked second in Opponents third and fourth down conversions. The Lions' defense was ranked 21st nationally in total defense and also broke a 17 year old division II school record with 21 interceptions. Coach Daye's defenses have now forced a total of 113 turnovers in 4 years.Prior to Southern, Daye worked as special teams coach for the Southern University and also served as head coach at Nicholls State University in Thibodeaux, La., from 1999-2003, and as an assistant at Liberty, LSU and Southern Miss.
Nick Bobeck, is in his second year as head coach at his alma mater. He was 2-8 last season at UCO. Previously Bobeck was the head coach at Navarro Junior College where he led the team to a 42-5 record in four seasons that included the 2012 Junior College National Championship. He also served as an assistant at the school. Bobeck was a four-year letterman and two-year starter at fullback for UCO from 1999-02, earning first-team All-Lone Star Conference North Division honors as a senior.He was a graduate assistant for three seasons, helping UCO go 20-12 during that stint while making the NCAA Division II playoffs in 2003. Bobeck went to Texas A&M as an offensive line coach in 2006 when the Aggies finished 9-4 and earned a berth in the Holiday Bowl.
The Dish on the Bronchos: Central Oklahoma makes its first-ever trip to Joplin to take on the Lions in the 2013 season-opener for both teams. The Bronchos return their top two offensive threats from last season in leading rusher Josh Birmingham and quarterback Adrian Nelson. In fact, the top receiver, rusher and passer all return for the Bronchos.
Birmingham rushed for 188 carries and 1,073 yards a season ago with 13 touchdowns and moving the ball nearly six yards per carry. Christian Bobo was the Bronchos' second-leading rusher last year, averaging 4.1 per carry and recording four TD's. Nelson threw for 1,777 yards and had nine touchdowns last year, connecting on 156 of 305 pass attempts. Hood caught 47 passes for 573 yards and two touchdowns. Birmingham caught 27 passes out of the backfield for 271 yards and one score.
On defense, the team's top-tackler from a season ago returns to start at free-safety in Devoris Dozier. Dozier had 77 tackles last season, 51 solo and one interception. Adrian Shoecraft (54 tackles, 1 sack) and Antonio Jenkins (42 tackles, 4 PBU, 1 FF), both return on defense for the Bronchos.
Benefit for Moore, Okla.: Two dollars from every ticket sold for this game will go directly to the Red Cross to help in the re-building efforts for the Moore, Okla. tornado. Fans will also be able to enjoy a post-game show that will include a laser light show and fireworks.