ESU football rides momentum from 2OT win into Saturday

Courtesy: Emporia State Athletics


Emporia State returns to Jones Field at Welch Stadium to take on Central Oklahoma.


Emporia State jumped out to a 17-7 lead and then weathered a pair of comebacks by #13 Central Missouri before grinding out a 37-31 win in double overtime in Warrensburg, Mo.

The Hornets took a 17-7 lead into the fourth quarter with an Antonio Brown touchdown, an Austin Morton field goal and a touchdown pass from Braxton Marstall to Landon Nault. UCM would get a 48 yard pick six and a touchdown pass from Garrett Fugate to Jaylen Zachery to take a 21-17 lead in the fourth quarter. Kole Schankie intercepted Fugate with 2:46 left in the game and the Hornets took a 24-21 lead on an Antonio Brown touchdown. The Mules tied the score with :07 left on a Billy Greco field goal. Emporia State scored first in the overtime on a Marstall touchdown run only to see Fugate hit Seth Hebert on the Mules first play to force a second OT. Tre Dickereson tipped a pass and MJ Mathis intercepted it to end the Mules possession and Marstall found Mitchell Foote for a 20 yard touchdown for the win.

Antonio Brown had 99 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. Marstall was 27 of 39 for 233 yards and two touchdowns and added 49 yards on 14 rushes. Eight different receivers caught a pass with Justin Brown hauling in eight for 30 yards and Jordan Reed catching three for a team high 52 yards. Defensively Kole Schankie, DeAndre Glover and JP Lohrentz all had seven tackles. Schankie, Woods and Mathis each had an interception while Brandon Goodman forced a fumble that was recovered by Tre'Vaun Ammons.


Garin Higgins has compiled a career record of 107-60 in his 15th season as a head coach. He is 56-51 in his tenth season at his alma mater and is 46-27 since the start of the 2010 season. He led the Hornets to the Kanza Bowl in 2012, the NCAA playoffs in 2013 & the national quarterfinals in 2015. He had a 51-9 career record as the head coach at Northwestern Oklahoma, including two trips to the national championship game. Higgins was a quarterback for Emporia State from 1987-90 and was on the 1989 national runners-up team. He is 4-1 against Central Okla.

Nick Bobeck is 20-28 in his fifth year at UCO and is 1-3 against Emporia State.


Emporia State is 3-1 on the season and ranked #23 in the nation. The Hornets have forced their opponent to punt on their first drive in all four games this season. They are ranked third in the MIAA in scoring defense at 25.0 points per game while putting up 33.5 points on offense. Braxton Marstall is averaging 255.0 yards of total offense per game with eight touchdown passes and is fifth in passing efficiency in the MIAA. Kole Schankie leads the MIAA in interceptions and is the leading tackler for Emporia State at 6.3 stops per game. The Hornets are +7 in turnover margin on the season to rank ninth in the nation.


Central Oklahoma is 1-3 after picking up a 31-21 win against Missouri Western. They are averaging 27.0 points per game, but have given up 37.3 points per game on the year. Jake Gandara is fourth and Clay McKenzie fifth in the MIAA in rushing and have combined for 133.5 yards per game on the ground.


This will be the 18th meeting between the two schools with UCO leading 10-6-1. The Hornets have won four of five meetings in MIAA play.


Emporia State gained a season high 214 yards rushing and Brent Wilson threw for over 300 yards as the Hornets improved to 3-0 with a 38-28 win at Central Oklahoma. The Hornets forced a three and out on the Bronchos opening possession and then marched 68 yards in seven plays, capped by a 21 yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Justin Brown, to take a 7-0 lead and would never trail. Denzel Strong had 80 yards on seven carries, Landon Nault had 69 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns and Antonio Brown had a game high 18 carries for 54 yards and the game sealing touchdown with 1:56 left. Kavaski Ervin had his second straight 100 yard receiving game, finishing with 106 yards on eight catches. Mitchell Foote had 78 yards on nine catches and Justin Brown had 76 yards on seven catches and a touchdown.


Emporia State travels to Tahlequah, Okla. next week to play Northeastern State. Kickoff is set for 2:00 p.m. at Doc Wadley Stadium.



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