football_pregame-octoberJoplin, Mo. —  The Missouri Southern football team will look to move to 6-1 for the first time since 1991 when the Lions play host to fourth ranked Missouri Western this Saturday at 6 pm in Fred G. Hughes Stadium.

Game 7:    Missouri Southern State University Lions (5-1, 4-1 MIAA) vs. #4 Missouri Western State University Griffons (6-0. 5-0 MIAA)

Date: Saturday, October 19, 2013
Kickoff: 6 pm
Location:  Joplin, Mo. • Fred G. Hughes Stadium/Robert W. Plaster Sports Complex (7,000)
Media Coverage:  Audio: 97.9 FM (Mike McClure-play by play | Tom Cox-color commentator) – Live video:

The Series: Missouri Southern holds an all-time record of 23-20 against the Griffons, including a 14-9 mark at Fred G. Hughes Stadium and 9-11 in St. Joseph.  The Lions have won three of the last four against the Griffons, including a huge fourth-quarter comeback against then 12th ranked Western two years ago in St. Joseph and another fourth-quarter comeback last season in St. Joseph against then fourth-ranked Western. Southern dominated the series with the Griffons early on, winning the first five meetings in a row, and ten out of the first 13. But the series is nearly split in the last nine meetings with Western taking five and the Lions, four.

A victory vs. Western would:  be the fourth time in the last five meetings between the two schools. It would also be the third time the Griffons were ranked in the top ten and Southern had knocked them off. It would also be the first time Southern had started the season 6-1 since the 1991 season where a loss at 11th ranked Portland State was the only blemish on the Lions’ schedule through the first seven games.

Big Wins: The Lions’ 31-30 win over No. 4 Missouri Western last season was the highest-ranked division II oppenent Southern has ever defeated. It tied the record for the highest-ranked opponent all-time as the Lions defeated No. 4 ranked Northwestern Oklahoma (NAIA Poll) in 1985 and No. 4 ranked Missouri Western (NAIA Poll) in 1981.

National Leaders:  After six games, the Lions second in rushing offense with 377 per game. The Lions also rank fifth in fewest sacks allowed, while ranking eighth in passing efficiency. Southern ranks 23rd in total offense, while ranking 33rd in scoring offense and 35th in red zone offense.

MIAA Leaders:  The Lions lead the MIAA in both sacks and rushing offense. Southern ranks second in fewest sacks allowed, while ranking fourth in passing efficiency, total offense and rushing defense.

Sack Nation:  The Lions are leading the MIAA in sacks this year and had five in the game against Southwest Baptist, including three on three consecutive plays. Southern has 15 sacks through six games and is on pace for 27.5 sacks in the season. The school record for sacks in a season is 30, set in both 1991 and 2005.

1993 MIAA Championship Reunion:  When the Lions face off with Missouri Western this week, the Southern athletic department will remember the 20th anniversary of the 1993 MSSU MIAA Championship. Players from that team will be honored  on field during the game.

Winning Seasons: The Lions are attempting to post back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since the 1995, 1996 and 1997 seasons. A win this weekend against Missouri Western would guarantee a winning season for Southern.