Emporia State football prepares for annual ‘Turnpike Tussle’ game

Courtesy: Emporia State Athletics

#9 Emporia State Hornets (9-1, 9-1 MIAA) at Washburn Ichabods (7-3, 7-3 MIAA)

Saturday, Nov. 12 • 2:00 p.m. • Yager Stadium at Moore Bowl (7,200) • Topeka, Kan.

Series Record: ESU leads 54-52-6 Current Streak: ESU 1 wins

Last Meeting: at #17 ESU 47, WU 23 (Oct. 31, 2015)
Radio: KFFX-FM (104.9) Pregame 1:00 p.m. TV: None

The #9 Hornets travel to Topeka to take on Washburn in the 113th edition of the Turnpike Tussle with post season implications for both teams. With a win Emporia State could secure a spot in the NCAA playoffs and possible home game while the Ichabods could be in position for a bowl game.

For the third time this year Braxton Marstall led #9 Emporia State to a fourth quarter win as the Hornets defeated Missouri Western 27-14.
Missouri Western took a 14-3 lead with 12:49 left in the half before Emporia State scored 24 straight points. Marstall found Mitchell Foote on a three yard touchdown with :47 left in the half to pull within 14-10 at the break. Marstall tossed a 37 yard touchdown pass to Justin Brown with 10:42 left in the game to put the Hornets up 17-14. On the next play from scrimmage by Mo. Western Josh Monteagudo intercepted Bertini and returned it to the Griffon 22 yard line. Three plays later Marstall and Brown hooked up again, this time from 19 yards out to give the Hornets a 24-14 lead with 9:50 left.
The Hornet defense forced another three and out and got the ball back with 7:51 remaining at their own 31 yard line. Emporia State drove 55 yards on nine plays before Austin Morton converted from 32 yards out to put the Hornets up 27-14 with 3:34 remaining.
Marstall was 33 of 52 for 359 yards with three touchdowns for the Hornets. Mitchell Foote had ten catches for 118 yards and a touchdown while Justin Brown had 102 yards and two touchdowns on nine receptions.

Garin Higgins has a career record of 113-60 in his 15th season as a head coach. He is 62-51 in his tenth season at his alma mater and is 52-27 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 3-6 against Washburn.
Craig Schurig is 103-67 in his 15th year at Washburn. He is 10-4 against Emporia State.

Emporia State is 9-1 on the season and ranked #9 in the nation. They are ranked third in the MIAA in scoring defense at 24.2 points per game and are fourth at 34.3 points per game on offense. The Hornets are +16 in turnover margin on the season to rank fourth in the nation. Braxton Marstall is leading the MIAA in completions, is second in completion percentage and third in total offense. He is fifth in the nation in completion percentage. Kole Schankie leads the MIAA and is ranked tenth in the nation with five interceptions. DeAndre Glover is second in the league in tackles for loss.

Washburn is 7-3 on the season and receiving votes in the AFCA National Poll. They are ranked sixth in the MIAA in scoring offense and defense scoring 30.2 points while giving up 28.5 points per game. Five of their seven wins have been by six points or less.

The Turnpike Tussle is the most played active rivalry in NCAA D-II. This is the 113th meeting in a series that began in 1899. The Hornets lead the series 54-52-6.

Emporia State scored on their first five possessions on the way to a 47-21 win in the 112th edition of the Turnpike Tussle. After forcing the Ichabods into a three and out on the first possession of the game, the Hornets drove 97 yards in 14 plays to take a 7-0 lead on Brent Wilson’s 11 yard touchdown pass to Kavaski Ervin. Wilson was 25 of 36 for 267 yards and four touchdowns while adding 28 yards on seven rushes. Mitchell Foote finished the game with six catches for 54 yards and two touchdowns and was one of one for 40 yards with a touchdown passing. Ervin had six catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns while Emporia State forced four turnovers and held Washburn to 291 yards of total offense. AJ West had seven tackles, a fumble recovery of ten yards and a 59 yard interception return for a touchdown.

Emporia State will learn their postseason fate during the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday, November 13 at 4 p.m.

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