TOPEKA (KSNT) – When two rivals play each other, records are often thrown out the window.
This statement rings true with the Turnpike Tussle. Washburn hosts Emporia State on Saturday.
“They’re going to give us a dog fight,” Emporia State quarterback Braden Gleason said. “Got to be ready to throw some punches back.”
The past year, Emporia State pulled off a 35-30 win to push the all-time series to 58-53-6, in favor of the Hornets, in a rivalry that started in 1899.
“It’s a great rivalry,” Washburn head coach Craig Schurig said. “One of the longest in college athletics. Both towns get into it.”
Emporia State has been on top of the win column lately, winning seven of the past nine Turnpike Tussles. However, the Hornets aren’t looking past this strong Ichabod group.
“Washburn is a very good team, a very good football team,” Emporia State head coach Garin Higgins said. “Very well coached…they’re not going to beat themselves.”
The Hornets are keeping an eye on All-American receiver J.J. Letcher, who has 485 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns through four games.
“You definitely got to know where [Letcher] is at,” Higgins said. “They do a good job of moving him around. You can’t do everything just to stop him because they got other players on the team that can hurt you, but we will definitely know where he’s at because he’s a difference maker in this league.”
The Ichabods are preparing for a new challenge on defense as they scout Gleason, who is a left-handed quarterback.
“It’s a different spiral, but I think we can make the adjustment,” Washburn defensive back Christian Clark said.
The Ichabods are happy to be back at home to get Topeka fans into Yager Stadium. In the series’ history, the Ichabods have a winning record at home, but a losing record on the road.
“Always fun to try to get a win at home,” Washburn wide receiver Collin Wilson said. “It gives you a little more to fight for.”
“We took a big loss last year…in Emporia,” Clark said. “Hopefully redeem ourselves on our home turf.”
Washburn comes in at 3-1 and Emporia State at 2-2, with both teams’ losses coming within one score.
“I think rivalries are good. I think they’re awesome, really,” Higgins said. “I think both programs have a lot of respect for one another.”
Saturday’s rivalry matchup is set to kick off at 4 p.m. in Topeka.