JOPLIN — The Fort Hays State Tigers made the long trip from Hays, Kansas a worthwhile one with a 48-7 win Thursday night in their season and Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association opener against the Missouri Southern Lions at Fred G. Hughes Stadium.

JOPLIN — The Fort Hays State Tigers made the long trip from Hays, Kansas a worthwhile one with a 48-7 win Thursday night in their season and Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association opener against the Missouri Southern Lions at Fred G. Hughes Stadium.
Fort Hays spoiled the debut of Missouri Southern quarterback Dante Vandeven, who beat out holdover starters Brayden Scott and T.J. Fleeton for the starting spot. Vandeven passed for 138 yards and one touchdown on 15 of 29 accuracy.
However, it was Fort Hays’ night on the scoreboard, as the Tigers produced 41 points in the first half, including 28 in the second quarter. Fort Hays generated nearly 500 yards of total offense, 487 overall split between 325 through the air and 162 on the ground.
Jacob Mezera threw for 245 yards and two scores on 21-29 accuracy and kicker Brandon Brown added a pair of field goals.
Missouri Southern special teams woes — including a fumbled snap and a muffed kickoff return — led directly to 14 points for the visiting Tigers.
Roc Robbins had a pair of sacks for Missouri Southern, while Alexander Wade led the Lions with 10 tackles and Desmond Payton and Deshon Cowling made eight and seven stops, respectively.
Missouri Southern — 0-1, 0-1 MIAA — returns to action Thursday on the road against Missouri Western. The Griffons lost by a 14-3 score in their opener against Nebraska-Kearney.
Other MIAA scores in Week 1 included Central Oklahoma 35-14 over Lindenwood, Central Missouri 28-23 over Pittsburg State, Northwest Missouri 34-0 over Emporia State, and Washburn 31-7 over Northeastern State.