Emporia State Football Makes Final Conference Trip To Truman

By: ESU Sports Information (Posted by J.B. Bauersfeld)
By: ESU Sports Information (Posted by J.B. Bauersfeld)
Undefeated and 18th ranked Emporia State will make it

Ryan Louia (91) and Jordan Sanders (52) helped ESU to their first MIAA shutout since 2000

Undefeated and 18th ranked Emporia State will make it's last trip to Kirksville, Mo. to take on Truman. The Bulldogs are leaving the MIAA following the 2012-13 school year.

The Emporia State defense pitched their first shutout since the opening game of the 2008 season with a 13-0 win over Lindenwood on Saturday. The teams were pulled off the field 54 minutes before the start of the game due to lightning and again with 6:53 remaining in the first quarter. Derek Jonas hit 26 and 32 yard field goals and the only touchdown of the game came when Tyler Eckenrode found Ray Ray Davis from two yards out. Eckenrode ended the game 21 of 36 for 257 yards and a touchdown while Shjuan Richardson had eight catches for 122 yards. Derwin Hall had 16 carries for 83 yards. Jordan Sanders had eight tackles and a sack for the Hornets. Gary Fortune had two interceptions, two pass break ups and three tackles. Gabe Patterson had four solo stops and an interception while Josh Taylor returned his interception 50 yards with 2:36 left to ice the victory.

Garin Higgins has compiled a career record of 77-45 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 26-36 in his sixth season at his alma mater and is 17-12 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. He is 3-2 against TSU.
Gregg Nesbitt is 12-17 in his third year at Truman. He is 1-1 against ESU.

Emporia State is 7-0 for the first time since 1988. The Hornets are ranked third in the nation in pass defense efficiency. The Hornets lead the MIAA and are ranked 13th in the nation in passing offense. Shjuan Richardson leads the MIAA in receptions and receiving yards. The Hornets are 11-2 since Oct. 8, 2011. The 11 wins against MIAA teams are tied for the most against conference foes in regular season play with Missouri Western, who is 11-1 in that time.

Truman is 4-3 overall and 3-3 in the MIAA. The Bulldogs are ranked ninth in the nation in sacks as Patrick Blackwell leads the MIAA with seven solo sacks. Dallas Grier is ranked second in the MIAA in receptions per game and fourth in receiving yards.

The Hornets secured a 52-18 win over Truman at Welch Stadium. Tyler Eckenrode went 19 of 28 for 194 yards and two touchdowns as ESU rolled up 436 yards of total offense on the day. Dasor Horton and Adrian Abner both had 68 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Adam Schiltz was the leading receiver for ESU with 56 yards on five catches and a touchdown.

This is the 27th meeting between the schools with Emporia State holding a 16-10 lead. Four of the last six games have been decided by less than seven points. The Hornets have won four of the last five meetings in Kirksville, including an overtime win in their last trip in 2009.

Emporia State returns to Jones Field at Welch Stadium on Thursday, Oct. 25 for an MIAA TV Game against Missouri Western.

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