Don Weast, Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations
EMPORIA – Emporia State’s Braxton Marstall threw for 435 yards and four touchdowns as the #15 Hornets defeated Neb.-Kearney 45-13 on Thursday night on Jones Field at Welch Stadium. The Hornets scored on their first five possessions of the game.
It took the just 40 seconds to score as Marstall found Louis Dailey for a 61 yard touchdown on the second play of the game for a 7-0 Hornet lead. Emporia State’s defense held Neb.-Kearney on downs on their possession and then went 64 yards on nine plays as Marstall hit Jordan Jackson for a 34 yard touchdown and 14 lead. The Lopers got on the board with a 15 yard pass from Steve Worthing to Thomas Russell wtih 2:32 left in the first quarter. The drive was kept alive by a roughing the kicker penalty as ESU went for the block on a punt on the fourth play of the 11 play, 75 yard drive.
Thomas was charged with an unsportsmanlike conduct after he scored forcing the Lopers to kick off from their own 20 yard line. Emporia State got a 36 yard return from Anthony McGee to start the ensuing drive at the UNK 44 yard line. Seven plays later Dailey made an acrobatic catch in the back of the endzone for a 15 yard touchdown from Marstall for a 21-7 Hornet lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Hornet defense then forced the Lopers to turn the ball over on downs at the ESU 39 yard line. Emporia State then went 61 yards on nine plays with Landon Nault vaulting into the endzone on a one yard plunge to go up 28-7 with 8:25 left in the half. On the next drive Orlando Sheets recovered a Worthing fumble to give the Hornets the ball at their own 45 yard line. Austin Morton hit a 41 yard field goal with 1:59 left in the half for a 31-7 lead.
Neb.-Kearney scored first in the second half with a two yard run by Russell, but a high snap on the PAT attempt led to a miss on the conversion pass to keep Emporia State up 31-13. The Hornets answered with a ten play, 79 yard drive capped by Nault’s second touchdown of the night, this time from two yards out with 5:38 left in the third.
The Hornets ended the scoring for the night with 10:55 left in the fourth when Marstall found Justin Brown for a three yard touchdown to make it 45-13.
Marstall finished the game 30 of 36 for 435 yards and four touchdowns. He connected with nine different Hornets on the night. Dailey had six receptions for 119 yards and two touchdowns while Brown caught eight passes for 92 yards and a score. Gabe Cleveland had 13 tackles, 12 of them solo with three tackles for loss to lead the Hornet defense. Tre’Vaun Ammons and Mark Golubski each had a sack.
The Hornets are back in action on Saturday, Sept. 16 when they travel to Missouri Southern. Kick-off in Joplin, Mo. is set for 6:00 p.m.