Courtesy: Emporia State Athletics
INTO THE JUNGLE
The #12 Hornets travel to Pittsburg State as the higher ranked team in the game for the first time as NCAA Division II members. Emporia State is looking for it’s first win in Pittsburg since 2003.
LAST TIME OUT
For the second time in four games Braxton Marstall led #12 Emporia State to a win in the fourth quarter as he scored the game winning touchdown with 15 seconds left in a 35-28 Homecoming victory over Lindenwood on Saturday.
The Hornets were shutout in the first half for the first time since Nov. 8, 2014 and trailed 7-0 at the break. They would come out in the second half and scored on every possession, going at least 60 yards on every drive as they scored 35 points and had 353 yards of total offense in the final 30 minutes. The Hornet defense forced a three and out and stopped the Lions on downs to open the third quarter and allow Emporia State to go up 14-7. Lindenwood scored on their next three possessions to tie the score at 21-21 with 3:17 left. Marstall then took the Hornets 88 yards in 2:54 for the game winning touchdown.
Marstall finished the game 39 of 51 for 317 yards with a touchdown and added 49 rushing yards and two scores on 18 carries. Justin Brown had ten receptions for 75 yards while Mitchell Foote had seven catches for 91 yards and a touchdown. Jaylen Lowe had four catches for 41 yards and a touchdown and completed his only pass for a 21 yard touchdown. Kole Schankie had a team high nine tackles, including one for a loss. Donovan Walker had 1.5 sacks among his three tackles to go with a quarterback hurry.
Garin Higgins has compiled a career record of 110-60 in his 15th season as a head coach. He is 59-51 in his tenth season at his alma mater and is 49-27 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 2-5 against Pittsburg State.
Tim Beck is 58-21 in his seventh year at Pittsburg State. He is 2-2 against Emporia State.
SCOUTING THE HORNETS
Emporia State is 6-1 on the season and ranked #12 in the nation. The Hornets have kept their opponent from scoring on their first drive in all seven games this season. They are ranked third in the MIAA in scoring defense at 25.1 points per game and fourth in scoring offense at 35.9 points per game. The Hornets are +12 in turnover margin on the season to rank third in the nation. Kole Schankie leads the MIAA and is ranked 11th in the nation in interceptions. Braxton Marstall is leading the MIAA in completions, is second in completion percentage and third in total offense.
Pittsburg State is 5-2 on the season. They are ranked second in the MIAA in scoring offense at 43.0 points and seventh in scoring defense at 35.6 points per game. Michael Rose is second in the MIAA in rushing at 100.4 yards per game while John Roderique is third in the league with 265.8 passing yards per game.
This will be the 95th meeting between the schools, which makes it the fifth most played active rivalry at the NCAA Division II level. Pitt State leads the all-time series 59-33-2, but the two have split the last four games.
LAST TIME OUT AGAINST PSU
Brent Wilson threw for 336 yards and ran for 108 as #18 Emporia State overcame an early 14 point deficit to defeat #13 Pittsburg State 46-42. Emporia State gave up touchdown drives on the first two Pittsburg State drives to trail 14-0 just 6:05 into the game. They would trail 28-19 with 1:58 left in the half before scoring 13 straight points to take a 32-28 lead with 4:37 left in the third quarter. Trailing 35-32 in the fourth quarter, Wilson was forced from the pocket and scrambled 36 yards to give the Hornets a 39-35 lead with 10:41 left in the game. The Gorillas would retake the lead with 4:44 left in the game. Wilson then engineered an eight play, 72 yard touchdown drive and capped it with a 14 yard touchdown pass to Kavaski Ervin with 2:06 left in the game.
Emporia State returns to Welch Stadium for Senior Day against Ft. Hays State. Kick-off is set for 2:00 p.m. in last regular season home game.