EMPORIA (KSNT) – One of the longest rivalries in all of college football took center stage Saturday, with No. 25 Emporia State hosting Washburn.
The Hornets held strong despite a second-half resurgence from the Ichabods, as Emporia State won the 119th meeting of the programs 38-23.
Emporia State started the game off with a touchdown run from Bennett Kingsley, who got the start in place of an injured Billy Ross Jr. After a Washburn three-and-out, Hornet quarterback Braden Gleason connected with wideout Tyler Kahmann for a 39-yard score to go up 14-0 early.
The two teams traded failed fourth-down conversions, then Emporia State got back to business with a 32-yard touchdown pass from Gleason to Tommy Zimmerman to take a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Washburn didn’t give in despite the deficit. Running back Connor Searcy capped a seven-play drive with a three-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 21-7.
A minute later, Emporia State responded. Gleason found Kahmann for a long 58-yard pass, but Kahmann was tripped at the one-yard-line. Receiver Jaylen Varner finished the job on a slant to give the Hornets a 28-7 lead.
Washburn forced the Hornets deep in their own territory, setting the Ichabods up with good field position off an ESU punt. Right before halftime, Washburn’s Trenton Brehm hit a 34-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 28-10 at the break.
The Ichabods carried momentum out of the locker room. A Hornet three-and-out turned into a Brehm 40-yard field goal to get Washburn to 28-13.
Following another Hornet punt, Washburn quarterback Sam Van Dyne found receiver D.J. Bell for a 69-yard touchdown on the first play of the drive, pulling the Ichabods within one score, down just 28-20.
Both offenses stalled there. It wasn’t until the start of the fourth quarter that the Hornets would score again – a field goal from Caden Dodson to extend the ESU lead to 31-20. Gleason found Kahmann again on the following possession for another score, extending the lead to 38-20.
Washburn still stayed in it. A 14-play drive ended in a Brehm field goal to make the game 38-23. A successful onside kick attempt was waived after it was ruled the Ichabods hit a defenseless receiver.
That all-but put the game away, as the Hornets held on to the 38-23 victory.
Gleason impressed as he has all season – finishing 42 of 49 passing for 421 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.
Van Dyne – a true freshman starting in place of an injured Kellen Simoncic – finished 18 of 41 passing for 256 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.
Kahmann finished with 11 catches for 175 yards and two touchdowns. Varner finished with 13 catches for 109 yards and a touchdown.
Emporia State’s Rylan Miller finished with 2.5 sacks, Maquay Shaw with two sacks. Washburn’s Chas McCoy recorded a sack.
The win moves Emporia State’s record to 5-2. The Hornets travel to Central Missouri next Saturday for a 1:30 p.m. matchup.
The loss moves Washburn’s record to 1-6. The Ichabods host Fort Hays State next Saturday for a 1 p.m. matchup.