Southern football rolls Lincoln 59-10 in Hall of Fame game

Joplin, Mo. - Behind a school record 658 yards of offense, the Missouri Southern Lions would score on their first six drives of the game while rushing for a record 607 yards on the ground cruising to a 59-10 win over Lincoln University.

The Lions (3-0, 3-0) would be led on the ground by Chris Barnwell who finished with a team-high 161 yards on 11 carries while JJ Jones had 109 yards on six carries. In total, nine Lions would carry the ball on the afternoon as 55 of Southern's 60 plays would stay on the ground.

Lincoln (1-2, 0-2) had 364 yards of offense on the day gaining 232 yards through the air and 132 on the ground. Quarterback Jacob Morris went 26-of-40 for 232 yards with an interception while Morris Henderson would lead the Blue Tigers on the ground with 68 yards and a touchdown. Khirey Draine would be Morris' top target of the afternoon making six catches for 128 yards.

The Lions would get off to a fast start receiving the opening kickoff, and on the second play from scrimmage, running back Michael Nelson would scamper 65 yards down the field to set up a seven-yard touchdown run by Giresse Forchu.

Southern forced the Blue Tigers to punt on their first possession, and the Lions would keep things on the ground the next trip down, churning out a seven-play, 98 yard drive that would see four runs by four different Lions of over 18 yards capped by Ejay Johnson's 28-yard dash into the endzone.

After Lincoln picked up a 23-yard field goal from Andrew Fishel to close the Lions lead to 14-3, Southern answered right back with a quick two-play drive capped by Terrance Allen as he sprinted 54-yards into the endzone to give the Lions a 21-3 cushion at the end of the first quarter.

The Lions would extend their lead to 28-3 on the first play of the second quarter as Jones would take a 21-yard run left and hurry quickly into the endzone. After forcing a Blue Tiger punt, the Lions got the ball back at their own 25-yard line and on first play from scrimmage, Barnwell would sprint 75 yards down the field for the Lions longest play from scrimmage of the year. The Lions extended their lead to 42-3 on a two-yard run from Forchu that would cap an eight-play, 83-yard drive.

Lincoln responded with its lone touchdown of the day as Morris drove Lincoln down the field finding Draine for a 25-yard pickup to the Lions 10-yard line. Henderson punched it in with a 10-yard run into the endzone and the Lions went into the locker room up 42-10 at the break.

After Sean Seefeldt nailed a 37-yard field goal on the Lions' first drive on the second half, cornerback Jason Brown would extend Southern's lead to 52-10, recovering a fumble by Henderson and take it 56 yards to the endzone. Jones would add a 28-yard run in the fourth quarter to cap the scoring day for the Lions.

The Lions had 607 yards on the ground today, breaking a 43-year old single-game rushing record at Southern. The previous record was 503 set in 1970 against Emporia State. The 658 yards of total offense (607-rushing, 51-passing) also breaks a Southern single-game record, surpassing the previous mark of 646 set against Washburn in 2002. The 607 rushing yards were just 20 shy of tying the MIAA record for rushing yards in a game.

Defensively, Gatlin Ridgeway had 14 tackles with a one and half sacks and a forced fumble, while Gaige Washington, Paco Varol and Demon Haire each finished with seven stops.

The Lions will be action next Saturday when they travel to Southwest Baptist to battle the Bearcats at 6 p.m. at Plaster Stadium.