Emporia State scores early, hold on to lead against Central Oklahoma

EMPORIA (ESU ATHLETICS) – The #23 Emporia State football team used career highs from Mitchell Foote and Braxton Marstall to post a 35-21 win over Central Oklahoma on Saturday at Jones Field at Welch Stadium.

For the fifth straight game the Hornet defense held their opponent to a punt on their opening series. Emporia State got two sacks from Eddie Vinson around a tackle for loss by DeAndre Glover on the series. The Hornets then marched 56 yards on six plays before Justin Brown hauled in a diving, one handed catch in the end zone for a 20 yard touchdown and 7-0 Hornet lead.

The Hornets went up 14-0 on a 30 yard pass from Marstall to Foote on the first play of the second quarter to cap a 12 play, 93 yard drive. Emporia State ended the half with a 14 play, 97 yard drive that culminated with a 12 yard touchdown from Marstall to Foote with :16 left in half. It was the first time the Hornets have had two 90+ yard drives in the same game since having three against Southwest Baptist in 2013.

The Bronchos finally got on the board when Seth Hiddink connected on a 30 yard field goal on UCO’s first drive of the second half. Marstall and Foote would connect again with 4:19 left in the third period, this time on a 17 yard touchdown pass to give Emporia State a 28-3 lead. The Bronchos broke through with their first touchdown when Chas Stallard hit Josh Crockett for a ten yard touchdown with :57 left in the period.

A 52 yard punt return set up the Bronchos second touchdown as Alec Davidson returned a punt to the Hornet ten yard line. Clay McKenzie scored on a one yard run out of the wildcat formation and TJ Eckert caught the two point conversion from Rodriguez Coleman to make it 28-18 with 13:59 left in the game. Hiddink hit a 27 yard field goal with 5:52 remaining to pull the Bronchos within 28-21 but it took them 6:33 to execute the 14 pay, 59 yard drive. The Hornets answered with a nine play, 80 yard drive that took 4:00 off the clock before Marstall and Foote connected for the fourth time. The 17 yard touchdown pass gave Emporia State a 35-21 lead. Tre Dickerson iced the game with the Hornets first takeaway of the game on an interception at the seven yard line with 1:01 left in the game.

Marstall was 29 of 41 for 354 yards and five touchdowns through the air and added 56 yards on ten carries with his legs. Foote finished the game with 11 catches for 167 yards and four touchdowns while Justin Brown caught ten passes for 109 yards and a touchdown. Antonio Brown had a team high 79 yards rushing on 12 carries.
Defensively Kole Schankie had 13 tackles including two for a loss while DeAndre Glover had six tackles and two TFL. Vinson had two sacks for a loss of 16 yards.

The Hornets will hit the road next weekend when they travel to Northeastern State. Kick-off from Doc Wadley Stadium in Tahlequah, Okla. is set for 2:00 p.m.

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