JOPLIN, Mo. – The Missouri Southern Lions are back on the road this weekend aiming for their first win of the season against Central Oklahoma.
MSSU is 0-2 to begin their fall schedule, falling to Nebraska-Kearney (38-0) and Northeastern State (21-17) in their first two games.
While the Lions haven’t gotten the results they wanted on the scoreboard early in the season, the team’s rushing attack has been a bright spot. Missouri Southern has rushed for 302 yards in their first two games.
Freshman running back Nathan Glades has led the team’s rushing attack, accounting for 169 yards in his first two career starts.
“We’ve faced two MIAA opponents, and we have ran the ball really well,” says head coach Atiba Bradley, “Where we’ve got to get better is the consistency of running the ball and being able to run the ball at a high level for four straight quarters. Part of that will be getting the passing game going a little bit more and opening up lanes for running. We’ve played two MIAA opponents and gone toe-to-toe with them. We’ve thrown blows with them and we’ve had success against them. Now it’s just raising our play and the level of consistency. That’s what we have to do now.”
This Missouri Southern team is relying an a number of younger players, including Glades, this season.
13 of the Lions’ 22 starters are either freshman or sophomore players – so the growing pains are not unexpected.
“It’s not easy…but growing up isn’t easy,” Bradley says, “Maturation isn’t easy. The hardest part about it is that you can’t rush it. You can’t sit there and say boom you’re a 5th-year senior. You have three years of experience under your belt in two games. You can’t do that. The hardest part is sitting there and knowing you’re going to take your lumps. It’s like watching a baby walk for the first time. You can’t sit there and hold its hand. They know they have to get better. They know it’s going to be tough. They know they have to come in and out every day and put in the work to get better.”
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