EMPORIA (KSNT) – Playing a ranked team is always a challenge, but Welch Stadium is special for this Emporia State football team.
Not only are the Hornets (3-3) undefeated at home, but they’ve played some of their best football there. This includes the Turnpike Tussle win against then-one loss Washburn.
The University of Nebraska-Kearney has a defense the Hornets have not seen before. The Lopers run a lot of schemes and plays other MIAA teams don’t.
“They have a big O-line,” defensive end Jordan Williams said. “I know they like to run the ball a lot. We’re going to have to just try to be aggressive with them.”
That’s what makes them so hard to prepare for, Emporia State head coach Garin Higgins said.
“It’s going to be a tough, physical game,” quarterback Braden Gleason said. “They’ve got some guys on [defense] that’ll come up and make some plays, so we’ve just got to be ready for all that.”
The Hornets do a lot on both sides of the ball that other MIAA teams don’t do either.
“We play with tempo and things like that, so hopefully that gives them some problems in preparation as well,” Higgins said.
Gleason leads the conference in total offense, passing yards and completions. He is No. 2 in passing touchdowns, points responsible for and completion percentage.
“Braden is playing as well as any quarterback that I’ve had, and I’ve had some really good ones here, as far as efficiency and getting the ball off in time,” Higgins said.
The Hornets want to get out to an early lead and avoid playing catch-up.
“Our offense, we’ve been behind a lot this year where we’ve had to make comebacks,” Higgins said. “Our offense is kind of set up for that with how we play with pace and tempo. So, that’s why I’m thinking one of the keys is, if we can get off to a good start, at least try somehow some way, to get a lead and try to put some pressure back on them.”
This game kicks off Saturday at 1 p.m.