EMPORIA (KSNT) – More than just another win is on the line for Emporia State football at Missouri Western University.

The Hornets received 13 votes in the latest NCAA coaches poll. A win Saturday could get them into the top 25.

Head coach Garin Higgins knows this game is going to be physically tough because both teams have good linemen.

“A typical MIAA team,” Higgins said. “They have some very skilled, scary athletes on the offensive side of the football. They can make plays.”

Central Oklahoma is also known to have big and strong lines, yet the Hornets managed seven sacks and allowed two.

Quarterback Braden Gleason also recognizes the Griffins’ backfield. They’re tall, fast and experienced, he said.

“They like to stick to their system,” Gleason said. “They’re sound all around.”

Gleason can use his receivers to combat that. Against Central Oklahoma, he went 28-of-42 for 280 yards with three touchdowns. Gleason connected with eight different receivers, and six had a reception of at least ten yards.

If the defense can carry over the plays from Central Oklahoma, they are in good shape. Dawson Hammes had a team-high eight tackles. Redshirt junior Cade Harelson recorded six tackles, including two sacks for 22 total yards. 

Missouri Western (1-1) is averaging 29.0 points while giving up 27.5 points per game. The game kicks off Saturday at 6 p.m.