HAYS, Kan. – Fort Hays State fell to Missouri Southern by a score of 25-24 on Saturday evening (Sept. 24) at Lewis Field Stadium in Hays. The Lions snapped an eight-game losing skid to the Tigers, using a drive that went the length of the field late to take a one-point lead. Fumbles on a pair of fourth-quarter scoring opportunities doomed the Tigers as they saw the Lions squeak past late. FHSU is now 1-3 overall, while MSSU is 3-1.
The Tigers shook off a sluggish start and came from behind to take a 24-19 lead by halftime. A safety on a bad snap and then a touchdown after getting the ball on a short field allowed Missouri Southern to take a 9-0 lead early. The Tigers cashed in their first touchdown on an Ethan Forrester 2-yard touchdown run with 1:28 to go in the first quarter, cutting the Lion lead back to two.
The Tigers forged ahead in the second quarter when Leyton Cure hauled in a 4-yard touchdown pass from Jack Dawson with 9:54 to go until halftime. Less than a minute later, Mason Perez blocked a punt and scored a touchdown on his recovery in the endzone, pushing the Tiger lead to 21-9. The Lions fought back with a field goal and one-yard touchdown run to get the Tiger lead down to two at 21-19. The Tigers tacked on a field goal right as the first half expired, an 18-yard chip shot by Emanuel Aguilar, to make it 24-19 at the break.
Both teams went scoreless in the third quarter and the Tigers had an opportunity to just about put the game away, but fumbled the ball away at the MSSU 1-yardline with just over eight minutes to go. The Lions marched the whole length of the field and scored a touchdown on a 3-yard pass from Dawson Herl to Trace Willhite with 1:59 to play. The Lions missed a two-point conversion attempt and clung to a one-point lead.
The Tigers drove the ball into Lions territory and had another great opportunity to score, only to fumble the ball away at the MSSU 6-yardline. The Lions ran out the clock to snap their long losing streak to the Tigers.
The biggest issue for the Tigers in the contest was ball security, fumbling the ball seven times. Five of those fumbles went to the Lions, and another was on the bad snap for the safety that gave MSSU two points.
Jack Dawson finished with 227 yards passing, completing 19 of 29 passes. Adrian Soto had a team-high 97 rushing yards, followed by Ja'Quan Tillis with 64. Hunter Budke finished with a team-best 73 receiving yards for the Tigers. Perez, Daniel Howard, and Layke Heimerman led the Tigers with eight tackles each. Jeremiah Jackson-Trotter had two sacks in the game.
Nathan Glades finished with 112 rushing yards for the Lions. Herl had 201 passing yards, but threw two interceptions. Chris Boudreaux had a team-high 78 receiving yards.
The Tigers go on the road next week to Nebraska-Kearney. Kickoff in Kearney is set for 7 p.m. on Saturday night (Oct. 1).