#21 Emporia State To Host Lindenwood

By: ESU, posted by Kinch O'Kelley
By: ESU, posted by Kinch O'Kelley

Tyler Eckenrode threw for 299 yards in the second half to lead #25 Emporia State to a 19-15 come from behind win at Southwest Baptist. The Hornets trailed 15-0 at the half and scored 19 second half points. Chris Muhammad returned the opening kick-off 97 yards and the Hornets trailed for the first time this year. Dan Connors scored the only offensive touchdown for SBU on an eight yard run and the Hornets trailed 15-0 with 5:14 left in the half. The Hornets would get on the board with 11:25 left in the third quarter when Eckenrode hit Shjuan Richardson for a 46 yard touchdown. Eckenrode found Adam Schiltz from six yards out with :36 left in the third and he completed the comeback with a 73 yard touchdown strike to Austin Willis with 12:29 left. Eckenrode ended the game 17 of 29 for 322 yards and three touchdowns. Ben Carlson led the ESU defense with 15 tackles.

Garin Higgins has compiled a career record of 76-45 as he begins his 11th season as a head coach. He has led the Hornets to within just one game of a post season berth each of the last two seasons. He is 25-36 in his sixth season at his alma mater and is 16-12 over the last three seasons. 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. This is his first meeting with Lindenwood.
Patrick Ross is 79-23 in his ninth year at Lindenwood and 93-30 in 11 years overall.

Emporia State is 6-0 for the first time since 1988 and 6-0 in conference play for the first time since 1927. The Hornets are ranked 12th in the nation in total offense and 11th in the nation in pass defense efficiency. Emporia State's defense has not allowed a first quarter score all season. The Hornets have scored at least 30 points in nine of their last 12 games dating back to Oct. 8, 2011 to go 10-2. The ten wins against MIAA teams are the second most against conference foes in regular season play behind Missouri Western, who is 11-0 in that time.

Lindenwood is 5-1 on the season and 4-1 in their first year in the MIAA. They lead the MIAA in passing offense at 334.8 yards per game. They have yet to miss a field goal or PAT on the season. Ben Gomez is second to Tyler Eckenrode in passing in the MIAA at 282.2 yards per game and Denodu O'Bryant is third in the league in all-purpose yards at 151.7 yards per game. Former Washburn defensive back Pierre Desir has six interceptions to lead the MIAA.

This is the first meeting between Emporia State and Lindenwood. The Hornets are 6-1 in their last seven games against teams in their first year in the MIAA or returning to the league. Four of the wins have come this year against Neb.-Kearney, Central Okla., Northeastern State and Southwest Baptist. The other two wins were against Lincoln last year and Ft. Hays State in 2006. The lone loss was at Neb.-Omaha in 2008.

Emporia State travels to Kirksville, Mo. to take on Truman. Kick-off at Stokes Stadium is set for 2:00 p.m.

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