UNK Hosts 2-Time Defending Champ NW Missouri for Homecoming
Kearney, Neb. – Junior Braxton Marstall threw for 435 yards and four touchdowns to lead 15th-ranked Emporia State over Nebraska Kearney, 45-13, Thursday night in Kansas.
Since the start of the 2016 season, the Hornets are now 12-3 with all three setbacks coming to two-time defending national champion Northwest Missouri State.
Running an up-tempo and fast-pace offense, the Hornets (1-1) came in having had success against UNK. They had won nine of the last 11 over the Lopers and averaged 44 points per game since the series resumed in 2012.
Coming off a season with 31 TD passes, Marstall directed an offense that scored on its first five possessions (four TD’s and a field goal). After taking a knee at the end of the first half and fumbling to start the second half, the Hornets recorded two more long TD drives. Overall, Emporia tallied 520 yards in 73 plays.
A 6-7, 207 pound junior, Marstall finished 30 of 36 with 11 teammates catching a pass. Backup’s T’Quan Wallace and Patrick Briningstool combined to go 2 of 4 for 14 yards.
Marstall had TD tosses of 61, 34, 15 and three yards. Five of Emporia TD drives covered at least 61 yards tonight with junior back Landon Nault (10 carries, 35 yards) having scoring runs of one and two yards. Finally, senior Austin Morton booted a 41-yard field goal.
UNK trailed 14-7 with two minutes left in the first quarter after its best drive of the night. The 11-play, 75-yard match took 6:08 off the clock and featured a roughing the punter penalty and a 15-yard run by junior receiver Marvin Marshall (Orlando, Fla.).
Facing 3rd & 12 from the Hornet 15-yard line, sophomore QB Steve Worthing (Elkhorn South) found sophomore back Thomas Russell (Millard West) in the flat for a 15-yard score. Worthing finished 10 of 14 for 95 yards and no interceptions while having team-highs in carries (22) and yards (86).
Kearney’s next two drives were also productive, netting at least 30 yards and reaching ESU territory, but ended on downs and a fumble. That allowed the Hornets to build leads of 21-7 (1st quarter) and 31-7 (halftime).
In the second half, sophomore inside backer Sal Silvio (Kansas City) recovered a Marstall fumble at the E-State 41-yard line. A 15-yard penalty and a 15-yard run by Worthing got the Lopers moving and a two-yard scoring plunge by Russell capped things.
UNK had another long drive, 61 yards in 12 plays, but that ended with a missed field goal. For the game, the Blue & Gold finished with 269 yards (174 rushing and 95 passing).
Besides Worthing, Russell had 11 carries for 41 yards and two receptions for 19 yards. Graduate transfer Darrien Daniels (St. Louis) ran six times for 32 yards with redshirt freshman back Dayton Sealey (Hastings) have two grabs for a team-best 26 yards. Finally, North Platte junior tight end Alex Harms had a team-best 32-yard reception.
Defensively, Emporia had 8.0 tackles for loss (2.0 sacks) and two pass breakups. After recording 19 tackles at NW Missouri, senior linebacker Gabe Cleveland had 13 more (12 solo) tonight. His total featured 3.0 TFL’s.
Replacing an injured Rakid Hill (St. Louis) in the starting lineup, Loper redshirt freshman inside backer Ty Botsford (Sussex, Wisc.) had a team-best 11 stops (eight solo). He had one of UNK’s three sacks as well.
Next, sophomore interior lineman Jordan Ingraham (Miami) had 1.5 sacks, sophomore senior safety Dallas Vaughn (St. Louis) made six tackles and junior corner Famous McKinnon (Miami) had four solo stops and two PBU’s.
Northwest brings its 32-game winning streak to Ron & Carol Cope Stadium at Foster Field next Saturday. The Bearcats got out to a 12-0 lead and won at Washburn tonight, 20-14.