JOPLIN, MO. — It’s officially game week for Missouri Southern football and they won’t have to wait until Saturday to take the field for the first game of the 2021 season.
The Lions will be on the road Thursday to face Nebraska-Kearney. The road contest will be the first official game as head coach for Atiba Bradley. These two teams faced each other in week one back in 2019, where the Lopers came out with a 39-27 win.
Bradley says they keys to being victorious this time around include being disruptive on defense and keeping the ball moving on offense.
“We’ve gotta find ways to get them off schedule,” said Bradley. “They’re an offense that likes to move the chains in their favor and we just have to do a good job of disrupting that defensively. Offensively, we gotta keep the ball moving. We gotta convert on third downs. You know, we gotta bring up third and shorts and stay out of the third and long scenarios.”
So far this season, it’s been all about the one percent mindset for Missouri Southern ever since head coach Atiba Bradley took the reigns of the program.
“You just gotta go one step at a time so that one percent, that means something,” said junior linebacker Richard Jordan Jr. “So, we’re gonna step in the right direction one percent every day.”
Bradley said he knows that propelling his team to the top of the conference this season will not be an easy task.
“It’s not gonna happen by chance, a miracle or luck,” said Bradley. “It’s gonna take a lot of work and sometimes when you have these long, large daunting tasks, they can be intimidating. But, I think if you take it one week at a time, and just find one little thing to get better, you’ll look back three months from now, six months from now and we’ll be a lot better than we were when we started.”
It’s an approach that his players have really bought into and they’re ready to put into action come gameday.
“We’re a well-rounded team, excited for action,” said senior wide receiver Brian Boyd Jr. “We’re young, but experienced in all the right areas.”
The Lions and Lopers will kick off at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 2.