Tahlequah Daily Press

September 10, 2012

RiverHawks suffer setback to MSSU


From NSU Media Relations

— JOPLIN, Mo. — The Northeastern State football team fell 27-21 to Missouri Southern State University Saturday night at Fred G. Hughes Stadium.

The RiverHawks (0-2, 0-2 MIAA) were competing in their first road game as members of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, while the Lions (2-0, 2-0 MIAA) were hosting their first home game of the season.

Senior wide receiver Jermaine Sherman led NSU with seven catches for 133 yards and a 69-yard touchdown late in the game. Fellow senior wideout Jahmai Coleman recorded eight catches for 86 yards, and sophomore running back Terrance Dixon scored his third and fourth TD’s of the season.

Sophomore quarterback Johnny Deaton was 23-of-38 for 287 yards and two touchdowns. Junior linebacker Langston Jones led the defense with 14 tackles.

Missouri Southern State jumped out to a 21-7 halftime lead after scoring on each of its first three possessions using the triple option offense.

MSSU quarterback Kellen Cox capped a 17-play, 86-yard opening drive for the Lions with a one-yard TD rush with 5:25 to play in the first quarter.

Dixon answered for the RiverHawks with a three-yard scamper on NSU’s first drive to clinch a 13-play, 73-yard drive at the 14:20 mark of the second quarter, but Ne’Ront Threatt scored twice before intermission to give the home team a 14-point lead.

All three of MSSU’s first-half TD’s were scored on drives longer than 70 yards.

The RiverHawks cut the lead to 21-14 early in the third quarter following an eight-yard touchdown pass from Deaton to Dixon. Dixon’s score was setup by a muffed punt that was recovered by NSU senior tight end Ryan Dvorak.

Northeastern State had chances to tie the game, but a Sherman touchdown reception was waved off after the official ruled the ball hit the ground. The road team would proceed to turn the ball over on downs.

MSSU would drive down and score following a 19-yard run by Bryant Venson with 3:17 to play in the fourth quarter. The RiverHawks answered on a 69-yard TD pass from Deaton to Sherman just three plays later, but NSU was unable to recover a well-executed onside kick.

Missouri Southern State ran out the clock to take the 27-21 victory.

The Lions led in total offense 360-339. They also held the rushing advantage (325-52), but NSU had better production through the air (287-35). Both teams turned the ball over once.

The RiverHawks will remain on the road next week as they travel to face No. 15 Washburn at 6 p.m. Sept. 15.