Emporia State football falls in Edmond 53-52 on Saturday

Courtesy: Emporia State Athletics

September 30, 2017-Emporia State had a 16 point lead in the fourth quarter, but Central Oklahoma scored 24 points in the fourth quarter on three touchdowns and three two-point conversions as the Bronchos pulled out a 53-52 victory over the Hornets on Saturday in Edmond, Okla.  It is the second week in a row the Hornets have lost a game with a fourth quarter lead after losing just once with a fourth quarter lead since 2011.

Emporia State took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards in ten plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 17 yard pass from Braxton Marstall to Louis Dailey with 11:50 left in the first.  The Hornet defense forced a three and out and drove to the UCO 33 before Austin Morton’s 50 yard field goal attempt was blocked with 8:09 left in the quarter.  The Bronchos then drove 51 yards to tie the score on a two yard touchdown pass from Chas Stallard to Caleb Moss with 6:11 remaining in the quarter.

The Hornets then went three and out and UCO answered with a 12 play, 77 yard drive capped by an 11 yard pass from Stallard to Romel Price to take a 14-7 lead with 13:13 left in the half.  On the ensuing possession it took the Hornets one play and ten seconds to tie the game as Marstall and Dailey hooked up on a 75 yard score on first down.

Central Oklahoma then went ahead 21-14 on a one yard run by Chandler Garrett that ended an 11 play, 75 yard drive with 8:06 left in the half.  The Hornets took over on their own 17 yard line after the kickoff and on second down the snap from center sailed over Marstall’s head into the endzone where he recovered it for a safety to give the Bronchos a 23-14 lead. UCO went up 29-14 after the free kick as they drove 72 yards in six plays, converting on fourth and eight from the 33 yard line as Stallard hit JT Luper for the touchdown but the PAT kick hit the upright.

Emporia State was able to get back in the game when they drove 71 yards in ten plays with Marstall finding Justin Brown for a 7 yard touchdown with nine seconds left in the half to pull within 29-21.

The Hornets then put together an impressive third quarter, outscoring the Bronchos 17-0 in the frame and outgaining them 181 yards to 50 yards in the period.  After forcing a Broncho punt on the opening possession, Emporia State went 67 yards in five plays with Marstall connecting with three different receivers for 20, 20 and 24 yards on the final three plays of the drive with Nault getting the score with 12:30 left as the Hornets pulled within 29-28.  The Hornets forced a three and out and drove 53 yards before settling for a 29 yard field goal from Morton to take a 31-29 lead with 8:14 left in the period.  The defense forced another three and out before Marstall engineered a 12 play, 61 yard drive, going six of eight for 47 yards and adding 15 rushing yards before hitting Dailey with a 14 yard touchdown pass with 2:17 left.

Central Oklahoma was forced to punt on their opening drive of the fourth quarter and the Hornets capped a 31-0 run when Nault leapt into the endzone from a yard out to give Emporia State a 45-29 lead with 12:05 remaining.

The Bronchos then went 80 yards in nine plays, aided by Hornet penalties on that converted a third down and a fourth down before Stallard hit Luper for a 15 yard touchdown with 8:38 left.  Stallard found Quan Hogan for the first of their three two-point conversions in the fourth quarter.  Emporia State answered that with a ten play, 75 yard drive and took a 52-37 lead as Nault rumbled in from 16 yards with 5:33 left in the game.  On the following possession, Stallard hit Luper for a 28 yard touchdown on third and 15 then connected with Moss for the two point conversion to pull UCO within 52-45 with 3:29 remaining in the game.  Chris Pogi then recovered the onside kick for the Bronchos at the UCO 46 yard line.  Stallard then led the Bronchos on a nine play, 54 yard drive completing four of six passes for 54 yards capped by his sixth touchdown pass of the day, a 13 yarder that gave Luper 230 receiving yards and his fourth touchdown with 20 seconds left.  Josh Crockett then ran in the two point conversion on an end around to give the Bronchos a 53-52 lead.  The Hornets were not able to get a clean play off on their last two attempts, fumbling twice as time expired.

Marstall ended the day going 27 of 42 for 429 yards and five touchdowns nad added 37 rushing yards on nine carries.  Dailey was his favorite receiver, catching ten passes for 176 yards and three touchdowns.  Brown finished with six catches for 83 yards and a score.  Nault ended the day with 64 yards rushing on 23 carries with two touchdowns and added four catches for 47 yards and a touchdown.

Gabe Cleveland had a team high 12 tackles with one tackle for loss while Gary Woods had eigh tackles.

The Hornets return to Jones Field at Welch Stadium on Saturday, October 7 to take on Northeastern State.  Kick-off is set for 2:00 p.m.

This is the first two game losing streak for Emporia State since dropping the final three games of the 2014 season.

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