The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 8, 2011

Lions look to finish at Emporia State

By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor

— Missouri Southern is looking to finish during today’s game at Emporia State.

Finish, as in finish offensive drives.

“We are still missing out on scoring opportunities,” Lions coach Bart Tatum said. “Whether it be a misfire from the quarterback position or a missed field goal from our kicker, we’re not getting in the end zone, not connecting.

“That’s what we have to improve offensively because the production is there. The yardage is there. The balance is there. We just have to score some more.”

Unfinished drives certainly cost the Lions last season at Emporia State. Missouri Southern rolled up 466 yards – 131 more than ESU – but five interceptions led to a 30-27 loss. The Lions owned a 118-18 advantage in total yards in the fourth quarter, but ESU’s Michael Luthi returned an interception 54 yards for the only score in the period.

The Lions defense is also looking to finish, as in finish making tackles.

“The game against Missouri Western (a 35-23 loss last week) was a disappointment from the standpoint that we got away from some things that we do very well historically, most importantly tackle," Tatum said. “We typically are a very good tackling football team. We did not tackle very well against Western, particularly when he quarterback was running the ball. We had trouble with (Travis) Partridge. He had a lot to do with the loss. He played a very tough game.”

The Lion defense yielded 263 yards on the ground to the Griffons after allowing only 172 in the first three games.

“I don’t know what it was last week,” end Maurice Pearl said. “We just weren’t ourselves. Missed tackles, missed alignments, missed assignments, just things like that. Watching film on Monday we saw how bad we were.”