The Griffons made it four straight wins and kept themselves in playoff contention with an impressive conference win over the Missouri Southern Lions (5-4) at Spratt Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Against a stingy, top-ranked Missouri Southern defense, Missouri Westernâ€™s offense remained solid with a 30-point performance.Â The Griffonsâ€™ improving defense did allow 20 first downs and nearly 300 yards of total offense.Â However, they were able to come up with some key interceptions and stops inÂ holding Southern to only 14 points.
â€œWe did enough to win, and the defense played well,â€ Western coach Jerry Partridge said.Â â€œI think weâ€™re pretty complete; that was a good football team coming in here today.â€
The Griffon offense moved the ball through the air fairly well.Â Quarterback Drew Newhart completed 18 of 31 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns, but he also added three interceptions.Â
Missouri Western wide-receiver Cedric Houston caught one of those two touchdowns to continue his hot streak, giving him five catches for touchdowns in only three weeks.Â Also, with the game still close, Houston broke things open with a school record-long 87-yard punt return for a touchdown with eight minutes left in the third quarter.
â€œI just trusted myself and trusted my teammates,â€ Houston said of the return. â€œI just caught the ball and got north and south.â€
In all, Missouri Westernâ€™s passing game was very successful. Newhart completed passes to seven different receivers on the day.Â Joey Harris led all players with five catches for 79 yards.Â One of Harrisâ€™ catches went for 25 yards which was one of three passing plays that went for 20 yards or more.Â MWSU now has over 50 plays of 20 yards or more on the year.
The Griffonsâ€™ suspect rush defense held Southernâ€™s big 6-foot-1-inch running back, Alley Broussard, to only 60 yards on 18 carries.Â The defense played well as a unit with everyone getting in on tackles.
â€œIâ€™m stoked,â€ defensive end Brad Davidson said.Â â€œOur defense played stout run-d today.â€
Western also did a nice job in coverage, limiting Southern quarterback Adam Hinspeter to short completions.Â The Griffons also came up with four interceptions on the afternoon.Â One key interception was made by defensive back DaMarcus Trotter, in the end zone. It answered a previous Lion interception and kept the Griffon lead at 30-14.
â€œThey threw for some yards, but their longest completion all day was 13 yards,â€ Partridge said.Â â€œThatâ€™s kind of the â€˜bend but donâ€™t breakâ€™ philosophy.â€
In the end, the Griffons were too much for Missouri Southern.Â Missouri Western moves to 5-2 in MIAA competition.Â The win also gave coach Partridge his eighth win against MSSU, making him 8-3 for his career against the Lions.