JOPLIN, Mo. – The Missouri Southern Lions play their final home game of the year on Saturday.
The Lions (3-6) welcome in the 6th-ranked Northwest Missouri State Bearcats (7-1) in week 10 of the MIAA season.
For a young Southern team, it’s a good chance to see where they stand against the best of the best in the MIAA late in their first season under head coach Atiba Bradley.
“You get to finally see what the MIAA is all about and you get to see the best in Division II,” says redshirt freshman QB Dawson Herl, “We get to gauge ourselves, finally.”
“We’re going to face one of the top teams in Division II nationally,” says head coach Atiba Bradley, “That’s where we want to be. That’s our goal is to be considered for the playoffs at the end of the season. It will be good for us to see a playoff-caliber team come in and go battle with.”
If the Lions want to pull of the upset, they’ll need a bounce-back effort from their defense.
Missouri Southern gave up a season-high 588 total yards last week to Missouri Western.
“We just have to tackle better defensively. We missed a lot of tackles,” says LB Coleman Booker, “We need to be more consistent and get off the field on third down. That’s what we mainly need to improve on.”
“I think the biggest thing was just us getting back to the fundamentals and us challenging them,” Bradley says of defensive practice this week, “I think this was the first time since Fort Hays State where they kind of came out and kind of brought the fight to us. They were a little more physical than we were. I think it’s important for our guys to take a step back and get back to the physical brand of football that we’ve done for quite frankly seven out of the nine weeks.”
Missouri Southern’s game against Northwest Missouri begins at 2 PM on Saturday in Joplin.
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