Western defeats Southern 35-23

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Missouri Western defeated Missouri Southern 35-23 Saturday in Joplin, Mo.

Western (3-2) fell behind early, after Southern (1-3) scored on a 1-yard-touchdown run by Steven Sumpter.

Western’s Greg Zuerlein connected on three straight field goal attempts on the next three drives, including a Western record 57-yard try, breaking the previous record of 54. Zuerlein tied a school record with five field goals.

Up 9-7, Travis Partridge hit receiver Adam Clausen in stride for an 8-yard score to give the Griffons a two score lead, 16-7.

After halftime, Western was up 16-10 when Jerry Partridge decided to go for it on 4th-and-1 from the 46-yard-line. The Griffons ran a sneak and Travis Partridge ran up the middle, pounding his way through the hole before breaking loose. He would score on the run to give Western a 22-10 lead midway through the third. The 46-yard-touchdown was Partridge’s second touchdown run this season.

Western didn’t look back. There were two interceptions in the second half, one by Jeremy Weston and the other by Shane Simpson, as well as two more touchdowns gave Western a 35-23 victory, which now pulls the Griffons even at 2-2 in the conference.

David Bass had another two-sack game, giving him nine on the season. Weston recorded his third interception. Michael Hill ran for 125 yards on 21 carries, and Partridge had 96 yards on the ground as well as completing 50 percent of his passes for 120 yards.

Western lost kickoff return specialist and starting receiver T.J. Fannin for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. The loss hurts the Griffons as he was the leading receiver on the team with 13 receptions heading into Saturday’s game. Also, cornerback Marcus Thompson broke his leg early in the first half, and he too will miss the remainder of the season.

Western returns home next week to play Lincoln (Mo.).

Other scores in the MIAA: In a battle between the top two teams in the MIAA, No. 16 Pittsburg State played No. 1 Northwest Missouri State in the annual Fall Classic game at Arrowhead in Kansas City, Mo. Pittsburg, once down 28-6, scored 29 straight points on its way to a 38-35 upset victory and ended Northwest’s 49-game conference win streak. Fort Hays State defeated Lincoln 24-21. No. 9 Washburn remains undefeated after a 41-20 victory over Emporia State. No. 18 Central Missouri topped non-conference opponent Arkansas Tech 42-16 and Truman State beat McKendree.

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