The Missouri Southern Lions used a 17-point unanswered scoring streak to pull away from Harding University and pick up a 45-31 victory at Fred G. Hughes Stadium in the season opener for both teams.

The Missouri Southern Lions used a 17-point unanswered scoring streak to pull away from Harding University and pick up a 45-31 victory at Fred G. Hughes Stadium in the season opener for both teams.

The highlight of the game was the play of senior Adam Hinspeter. The quarterback threw for a school record 422 yards and a school record 5 touchdowns in the game.

Tied at 7-7 at the end of the first quarter, the Lions outscored the visiting Bison, 17-7 in the second quarter and to build a lead they would never relinquish.

MSSU kicker Brian Malette booted a 44-yard field a little more than three minutes into the second quarter to give MSSU a 10-7 advantage.

Southern’s Mark Henderson caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Hinspeter early in the second quarter for another Lions’ score. Malette’s point after kick made it 17-7.

It was the second time the two had connected in the game, as Henderson had a 14-yard TD reception in the first quarter.

Chris Bingham caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Hinspeter with 7:23 to play  making it 24-7.

Harding received a 20-yard touchdown pass from David?Knighton to Kurt Adams with 54 seconds left in the first half to make it 24-14 at hafltime.

Hinspeter threw touchdown passes to Henderson and Daniel Thompson in the second half for Missouri Southern. Ronnell Newman also ran for a touchdown for the Lions.

Hinspeter was 25-of-45 with 422 yards passing for MSSU. Henderson had nine catches for 228 yards to pace the receivers.

Renard Johnson ran for 53 yards to lead the Southern running backs.

Knighton passed for 365 yards, completing 31-of-61 passes for Harding.

Pitt State pulls out close win

EDMOND, Okla. — The Pittsburg State University defense limited the University of Central Oklahoma to 221 yards of total offense as the 17th-ranked Gorillas overcame four turnovers and costly penalties to grit out a 16-12 road win over the Bronchos Saturday in the season opener for both teams at Wantland Stadium.

Mark Smith completed 17 of 22 passes for 206 yards including a go-ahead 17-yard scoring strike to Harrison Kush with 11:51 to play in the game. A botched snap on the PAT try allowed UCO to score a defensive 2-point conversion, keeping the game in doubt down the stretch.

The Gorillas held the Bronchos on downs twice and forced a punt in UCO’s final three offensive series. Senior linebacker Rusty Morgan led the Pitt State defense with 10 tackles (nine solo) including a pair of TFLs.

The Pitt State offense overcame five turnovers -- four fumbles -- to finish the game with 376 total yards.

Abilene Christian upsets Northwest Missouri

MARYVILLE, Mo.—Abilene Christian quarterback Billy Malone passed for four touchdowns and Bernard Scott rushed for two as the eighth-ranked Wildcats ended third-ranked Northwest Missouri State’s 17-game home winning streak with a 44-27 victory Saturday at Bearcat Field. It was the season opener for both teams.

The Wildcats scored 30 unanswered points after trailing 21-7 at the end of the first quarter. The Bearcats scored touchdowns on their first three possessions of the game, but were then held scoreless until early in the fourth quarter.

LaRon Council scored the first two Northwest touchdowns on runs of two yards and one yard.
Quarterback Joel Osborn made it 21-7 with a 21-yard pass to Paris Elam, who ran down the middle of the field and tip-toed the back of the end zone while hauling in his first collegiate touchdown.

Osborn finished 28-of-46 for a career-high 325 yards and two touchdowns. His second was a 23-yard strike to Kendall Wright that made it 37-27 with 13 minutes remaining. Wright had eight catches for a game-high 123 yards.

Northwest forced a three-and-out on the Wildcats’ ensuing possession, but a holding penalty stalled the Bearcats next drive. Northwest took over again with seven minutes remaining, but back-to-back sacks by Vantrise Studivant sealed the win for ACU.

Scott, the runner-up to the Harlon Hill Award and the nation’s leading scorer in 2007, posted 177 yards in his first game of 2008. He had 120 yards and scored both his touchdowns in the second half.

Abilene trailed 21-17 at the break, but pieced together a 10-play, 86-yard touchdown drive to begin the second half. Malone completed passes of 18- and 20-yards to Edmund Gates on the drive and Scott carried 17 yards to the 1. Malone threw a playaction pass to Kendrick Holloway on the next play to give the Wildcats’ their first lead.

Gates had five catches for 122 yards for ACU. Jonathan Ferguson, who had a 61-yard touchdown reception early in the second quarter, finished with three catches for 80 yards.

The score was 30-21 when Northwest committed its second turnover. Ryan Jones muffed the ensuing kickoff and Casey Carr recovered the loose ball at the Bearcats’ 10-yard-line. Malone scrambled and found Johnny Knox for a 7-yard score, giving the Wildcats’ a 37-21 lead.