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MSSU Preps for Finale @ PSU

Updated:

RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern football team will wrap up the 2017 season this Saturday as the Lions and the Pittsburg State Gorillas will tangle in the Miners Bowl. Kickoff from Carnie Smith Stadium is slated for 2 pm. 

Game Information
Team Records: MSSU - 0-10, 0-10 MIAA | PSU 6-4, 6-4 MIAA
Date: Saturday, November 11, 2017
Kick-Off: 2 pm, CT
Location:  Pittsburg, Kan.
Site: Carnie Smith Stadium (7,950)
Series Record:  PSU leads the series, 39-9-1
CoachesDenver Johnson (3-29 at MSSU, 72-95 overall) | Tim Beck (66-28 at Pittsburg State/overall)

Media Coverage
MSSU Radio: ESPN Joplin 101.3, and AM 1560; 88.7 FM KXMS - Mike McClure, Play-by-Play, Scott Boudreaux, Color
Video Webcast: http://www.themiaanetwork.com/mssulions
Live Stats: http://sidearmstats.com/pittstate/football
Lions on Facebook:  Facebook.com/mososports
Lions on Twitter: @mososports; @mosofootball

The Series: Pittsburg State holds a 39-9-1 advantage in the series and had won 19 in a row before the Lions won 35-21 2013 in Pittsburg. Missouri Southern has won six of 24 meetings in Joplin, but the Lions have won just three times in Pittsburg (3-20-1). The Lions are 6-17 in Joplin. The win in 2013 for MSSU stopped a 19-game winning streak and was the first win in Pittsburg since 1983. The two teams have played each year since 1968 in what is the longest running series for MSSU. The Lions led 5-4-1 after the first 10 meetings. The two teams began competing for the Miners' Bowl Trophy in 1986. 

The Dish On The Gorillas: The Gorillas are 6-4 on the season and are riding a four-game winning streak. PSU had lost three in a row, before winning at home against Missouri Western to start the streak. PSU also picked up a huge win at home over then No. 1 ranked Northwest Missouri, stopping the Bearcats 38-game winning streak. Thomas LePage has stepped in at quarterback after John Roderique went out with an injury against Emporia State. LePage has thrown for 763 yards and 8 touchdowns on the season. LePage is also the older brother of current Lion women's soccer sophomore Taylor LePage. Michael Rose has the bulk of the carries with 177 carries for 869 yards and four scores. Tucker Horak and Roderique have a rushing score each. Through the air, Lorenzo West is the favorite target, catching 28 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns. Austin Panko has four touchdowns and 376 yards. Defensively, Marcus Brantley has a team-high 63 tackles, while adding in a 6.5 tackles for a loss, a sack, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Josh Hornback has 58 tackles and two interceptions, while Paul Davis has a team-high three picks. Morgan Selemaea is one of two on the team with six sacks. 

A Victory vs. PSU State Would:  stop a 12-game losing streak for Southern. It would also be just the second in the last 24 meetings against the Gorillas and the first win at PSU since 2013.
    
NFL Representation: The Lions will have two different players on NFL rosters to start the season. Brandon Williams is a starter on the defensive line for the Baltimore Ravens, while Allen Barbre will be with the Denver Broncos this year. 

Show Me The Money: Brandon Williams has become a leader on the defense for the Baltimore Ravens, as well as the NFL. In the offseason, Williams became the highest-paid nose tackle in the NFL and the eighth-highest paid defensive lineman when he signed a five-year, $54 million contract. 

NFL Executive: Former Lion and former NFL wide receiver James Thrash is in his second season serving as the NFL and NFLPA's Appeals Officer. He hears all appeals for the NFL regarding on-field player discipline. Thrash played 12 seasons in the NFL for the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles.  

Lions On Radio: The Lions will partner with ESPN Joplin this year as Southern can now be heard on three separate FM stations, as well as an AM station. ESPN Joplin will air the Lions' games on 101.3 and 103.5 FM, as well as AM 1560. MSSU's KXMS 88.7 will also simulcast the games giving the Lions a larger reach in the four-states than they've ever had.  

Tough League/Region: The MIAA has two teams in the coaches top 25 this week. Fort Hays State is fifth, while Northwest Missouri fell from the top spot to No. 18 this week. The Super Region Three, which the Lions are a part of, has six teams in the top 25. There are nine teams total that are either ranked or receiving votes in the poll from the region. 

Lions On TV:  Missouri Southern's KGCS will air every Lions home game live this year during the season. They will also re-broadcast the games on Sunday evenings at 7 pm.   

Lions On The Web:  All of MSSU's football games are carried live online as part of the MIAA Network. Fans can go to www.mssulions.com to view live and on-demand games.  

Streaming Options:  Fans now have even more options to view the Lions online in their homes and on the road. Not only can you view on your computer, fans can now view The MIAA Network on its over the top apps for either Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Android TV. 

NCAA Team Stats Rankings:  The Lions rank 17th in fewest penalties and and fewest penalty yards per game, while ranking 14th in fewest penalties per game and 21st in fewest penalty yards. The team also ranks 29th in blocked kicks, 44th in kickoff return defense and 58th in fumbles lost (fewest).   

MIAA Team Stats Rankings:  Southern is second in the MIAA in fewest penalties and penalty yards and per game stats in those categories. The Lions also rank third in the MIAA in blocked kicks, while ranking fourth in kickoff return defense and sixth in fumbles lost (fewest). 

Individual Stats Rankings:  Individually, Roc Robbins ranks 13th in blocked kicks and 34th in fumbles recovered.  

Special Teams Player Of The Week: Roc Robbins was named the MIAA Special Teams Player of the Week after his performance at Northeastern State. He had a blocked kick, a blocked extra point and returned that PAT for a two-point conversion.   

Rush Like A QB: Brayden Scott had three rushing touchdowns against Central Oklahoma and went over the century mark with 104 yards on the ground. It was the first time since 2013 that the Lions had a quarterback rush for 100 yards when Jay McDowell had 119 at Pittsburg State.    

Spread The Wealth:  In eight of the Lions' ten games this year, they have thrown the ball to at least seven different receivers. This season, 17 different Lions have caught a pass, with 11 catching touchdowns.

Catching Fire:   Dante Vandeven has made the transition to wide receiver rather well. The former quarterback is second on the team in receiving yards with 305 and has an average of 13.3 yards per catch.    

NCAA Regional Rankings:   The second NCAA Division II Super Region Three poll came out this week. The MIAA has three teams in the poll with Fort Hays State at No. 1, Northwest Missouri at No. 6 and Central Missouri at No. 10.        

Weather Report:  The weather report for the Pittsburg area on Saturday calls for a high of 59 and mostly cloudy conditions with a zero percent chance of precipitation and winds out of the south at 14 mph. 

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