EMPORIA (KSNT) – The No. 11 Hornets rolled the Bronchos at Welch Stadium.
Emporia State beat Central Oklahoma 38-27 Saturday behind Jaylen Varner’s second three-touchdown game.
Both offenses needed a drive to warm up. Emporia State (4-0, 3-0) settled for a field goal after a 43-yard run from Billy Ross Jr.
Then, the Hornet offense kicked in. On their next drive, Braden Gleason connected with Tommy Zimmerman for 57 yards and the first touchdown of the game to go up 10-0.
UCO (1-3, 1-3) answered with its own touchdown on the next drive, cutting Emporia State’s lead back to three.
Emporia State began taking advantage of UCO’s mistakes. The Hornet offense went for it on 4th & 10 in UCO territory, when the Bronchos got a pass interference call. That gave the Hornets an automatic first down, which Gleason used to throw to Varner for a 4-yard touchdown. ESU increased its lead to 17-7 with 2:36 left in the first quarter.
It took more than seven minutes for either team to score in the second quarter. UCO broke the stalemate to make it a 17-14 game. On the next drive, Gleason and Varner connected again to keep the hornets ahead with some cushion, 23-14, which they took into the half.
Both defenses locked down the field to start the second half. With 4:31 left in the third quarter, Gleason threw to Varner again from ESU’s own 22-yard line. Varner ran on the field’s edge for 78 yards and his third touchdown, increasing his team’s lead to 31-14.
Emporia State’s run game made its noise in the fourth quarter. Billy Ross Jr. ran 58 yards up the middle of the field to make it a 38-14 ESU lead.
Rod Farmer capped the game with an interception, stopping UCO’s last scoring attempt.
Varner finished with six catches for 147 yards leading to his three touchdowns. Gleason finished 19-29 for 289 yards and four touchdowns. Ross Jr. added 157 yards rushing with a score.
Montrell Wilson led the Hornets in tackles with 11, Daniel Becker with a sack and Farmer and Bo Odum with an interception.
Next, the Hornets travel to Missouri Western State for a 4 p.m. game.