The Missouri Southern Lions went 15 rounds with No. 14-ranked Emporia State before falling 36-29 last Saturday at Fred G. Hughes Stadium.

Now, the Lions' quest for their first win of the season will not get any easier when they travel to Maryville on Saturday to face the two-time defending NCAA Division II national champion, Northwest Missouri, a team on a 33-game winning streak. The Bearcats are the No. 1 team in the nation.

Two of Missouri Southern's three losses this season have already been against ranked opponents, both Kansas schools Fort Hays (No. 18) and Emporia State (No. 15) with their current ranks in parenthesis.

Missouri Southern players Dante Vandeven and Akel Beard were nominated for Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association offensive and defensive player of the week honors for their performances against Emporia State.

Vandeven, a Southeast Missouri transfer who earned the Ohio Valley Conference top freshman award two seasons ago, enjoyed his best performance with the Lions, passing for 211 yards and four touchdowns against the Hornets. His one interception, though, was returned for a critical score by Emporia State in the fourth quarter.

On the season, Vandeven has passed for 530 yards, six touchdowns, and three interceptions on 55 for 114 accuracy.

Sophomore linebacker Beard came through with a season-high 14 tackles, 11 more stops than he had the first two weeks against Fort Hays and Missouri Western.

The Bearcats themselves have been their strongest defensively this season, allowing a combined 14 points over three wins against Emporia State, Washburn, and Nebraska-Kearney. Northwest blanked both Emporia State and Nebraska-Kearney.