ESU football turns attention to No. 13 Central Missouri

Courtesy: Emporia State Athletics

EMPORIA, Kan. – Emporia State travels to Warrensburg, Mo. to take on #13 Central Missouri. It is the second Top 15 opponent in the Hornets first four games while the Mules are playing their fourth game against a team that has received votes nationally.

Emporia State jumped out to a 28-0 lead and cruised to a 49-21 victory over Missouri Southern on Saturday afternoon on Jones Field at Welch Stadium. Emporia State went up 49-7 with 10:10 left in the third period when Landon Nault scored on a one yard run to cap a three play, 34 yard drive. The good field position came after a Schankie interception, his second take away of the game.
Emporia State ended the game with 479 yards of total offense while Southern gained 451, but the Lions turned the ball over four times to just once for the Hornets. Braxton Marstall was 26 of 33 for 279 yards with three touchdowns and added 26 yards on six carries rushing. Nine different Hornets caught a pass, with four having at least four catches and six with at least 30 yards. Morris Williams had six catches for 69 yards, Jordan Reed hauled in five for 60 yards and Mitchell Foote had five for 56 yards and two touchdowns. Nault ended the game with 75 yards on 12 carries with a pair of touchdowns while Antonio Brown had seven carries for 38 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively Remington Whitley was credited with a team high nine tackles. Kole Schankie had four solo tackles, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Garin Higgins has compiled a career record of 106-60 in his 15th season as a head coach. He is 55-51 in his tenth season at his alma mater and is 45-27 since the start of the 2010 season. He led the Hornets to the Kanza Bowl in 2012, the NCAA playoffs in 2013 & the national quarterfinals in 2015. He had a 51-9 career record as the head coach at Northwestern Oklahoma, including two trips to the national championship game. Higgins was a quarterback for Emporia State from 1987-90 and was on the 1989 national runners-up team. He is 0-6 against Central Missouri.
Jim Svoboda is 50-22 in his seventh year at Central Missouri and 102-41 in 14 years as a head coach. He is 3-1 against Emporia State.

Emporia State is 2-1 on the season. The Hornets have scored on their opening drive and forced their opponent to punt on their first drive in all three games this season. They are ranked third in the MIAA in scoring defense at 23.0 points per game while putting up 32.2 points on offense. Braxton Marstall is averaging 246.0 yards of total offense per game with six touchdown passes and is fourth in passing efficiency in the MIAA. Kole Schankie is the leading tackler at 6.0 stops per game. The Hornets are +6 in turnover margin on the season to rank ninth in the nation.

Central Missouri is 3-0 for the first time under coach Jim Svoboda. They are ranked #13 and have the top ranked passing offense in the MIAA at 332.0 yards per game and are second in passing defense at 241.0 yards per game. They average 35.3 points on offense and are giving up 26.0 points to rank fifth in the MIAA in both.

This is the 62nd meeting in the series that dates back to 1901. The Mules lead the all-time series 39-18-4. Last year’s Hornet win snapped a streak of 13 straight wins by Central Missouri.

In a game that finished nearly 48 hours after it started, Emporia State outscored Central Missouri 21-10 in the second half to post a 45-34 win. Brent Wilson went 35 of 46 for 446 yards with five touchdowns in the win for Emporia State. The game began on Thursday when a severe thunderstorm moved in and forced the suspension of the game. The Mules had jumped out to a 14-3 lead with 2:09 left in the first quarter. The Hornets would then outscore the Mules 21-10, scoring on their final three possessions of the first half before the rains came in. Emporia State took their first lead of the game on a 13 play, 80 yard drive that saw them convert twice on third down and once on fourth down. Josh Monteagudo’s tackle on fourth down forced the Mules to turn the ball over on downs to the Hornets with 1:22 left and they ran out the clock for the win.

Emporia State returns to Welch Stadium to play Central Okla. on Oct. 1. Kick-off is set for 1:00 p.m.

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