The No. 24 Emporia State football team shook off a sluggish two-plus quarters to subdue Northeastern (Okla.) State 45-24 at Welch Stadium on Saturday.
Quarterback Brent Wilson threw his first interception as a Hornet, but also threw for 410 yards and five touchdowns -- two each to Austin Willis and Kavaski Ervin, one to Ray Ray Davis. Antonio Brown also ran for a 3-yard score, the first non-passing TD for the Hornets this season.
ESU trailed after the first drive as Northeastern State, drove 75 yards in six plays. The Hornets responded quickly as Wilson threw touchdown scores to Willis and Ervin. Northeastern tied the game at 14 when Thor Long connected with Nick Whitlow and only trailed 21-17 at halftime.
Emporia State, however, stretched the advantage to 24-17 after a 41-yard field goal by Eli Kuhns, the first of four straight secod-half scores by the Hornets. Wilson threw touchdown strikes to Davis and Willis to stretch the lead to 38-17 and put the game out of reach early in the fourth quarter.
For the game, ESU amassed 585 yards, including 174 on the ground. Northeastern State totaled 402 yards but picked up less than 150 after halftime. The Hornets also lost the possession time battle for the first season, holding the ball for just under 27 minutes.
Northeastern State came into the game shorthanded, already losing eight starters for the season before Saturday's game started, and left Emporia even more shorthanded. Starting quarterback Thor Long, the Riverhawks' third-string quarterback when the season started, left the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent upper-body injury and did not return.
With the win, ESU now moves to 4-0 overall and in the MIAA. Northeastern State falls to 0-4. The Hornets travel to play Lincoln at 2 pm Oct. 5, with pregame at 1 pm on Mix 104.9 FM and KVOE.com. Hornet Talk airs at 12:20 pm Monday from Bruffs Sports Bar and Grill on Mix 104.9 FM and KVOE.com.
Northwest Missouri State 53 Nebraska Kearney 7
Pittsburg State 59 Lincoln 38
Washburn 28 Central Oklahoma 19
Southwest Baptist 38 Missouri Southern 33
Missouri Western 52 Fort Hays State 21
Lindenwood 27 Missouri S&T 10
Central Missouri 44 Truman State 23