Pittsburg, Kan. -- The streak is no more and the Missouri Southern football team has defeated Pittsburg State 35-21 today in the Sonic Miners Bowl at Carnie Smith Stadium.
Southern (7-3, 5-3 MIAA) wins for the first time against PSU (9-2, 7-2 MIAA) since 1993 and for the first time in Pittsburg since 1983.
The Lions rushed for 372 yards and had 415 yards of total offense. The Lions defense forced punts on PSU's first five possessions and held the Gorillas to just 229 yards total, including only 95 yards on the ground. PSU came into the game averaging 239 yards on the ground and 483 yards total per game.
The Southern defense limited Pitt State to just 13 first downs in the game, while the Lions had 22. Southern won the time of possession battle holding the ball for more than 37 minutes, while limiting the Gorillas to just under 23 minutes with the ball.
Offensively, Jay McDowell rushed for 119 yards on 23 carries and found the endzone twice. Jocqui Davis and Terrence Allen had a rushing touchdown of their own. McDowell was 4-9 through the air for 43 yards and a touchdown. Michael Nelson was one of four different Lions to catch a pass and his was huge as he caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from McDowell.
The Lions scored on five of their 11 possessions in the game. Pitt had three scores on 12 possessions.
Southern won the opening toss and elected to defer and the Lions' defense forced a three and out for the Gorillas. The offense thanked the defense as Allen took the ball and ran five yards for a touchdown, capping off a seven play, 51-yard scoring drive.
The score remained 7-0 until just before the end of the half when McDowell and Nelson hooked up for a 25-yard score. PSU answered right back as the Gorillas drove the length of the field and Anthony Abenoja found Marquise Cushon in the endzone to make the halfitme score 14-7, Lions.
The Lions chose the wind and gave Pitt the ball to start the third quarter, but the defense held strong and forced another three and out and a punt. Southern took over on its own 26-yard line and drove the length of the field as McDowell capped a 14 play, 74-yard drive to put the Lions up 21-7 with a five-yard score.
The Lions' defense forced another three and out, but a fumble from McDowell turned the ball over and PSU scored on an Abenoja four-yard run to make the score 21-14.
That would be as close as the Gorillas would get as the Lions added two more touchdowns, a 52-yard run from Davis and another McDowell run to put the game away. A late score from Pitt would not be enough.
Southern ends the season with seven wins for the first time since the 1993 season when the Lions won the MIAA. The Lions broke school records for rushing yardage (3,684) and rushing touchdowns (42), both of which were set last season. Southern also broke the single-season rushing attempts record with 597 on the season, besting the mark of 581 set last year.