One team will end Saturday with a share of the MIAA Championship after undefeated and #14 Emporia State plays host to undefeated and #2 Northwest Missouri.
LAST TIME OUT
In a battle of the top two teams in the nation in turnover margin #14 Emporia State forced six turnovers to come out on top of a 35-30 win at #12 Mo. Western. The Hornets scored 21 points in the first six minutes of the second quarter before the Griffons answered with 24 straight points to take a 24-21 lead with 11:01 left in the game. Emporia State answered with a 12 play, 75 yard drive to regain the lead with 7:08 left on a one yard pass from Brent Wilson to Kavaski Ervin and went up 35-24 less with 4:20 left when Wilson hit Ray Ray Davis from one yard out. Travis Partridge pulled MWSU within 35-30 on a two yard run with 2:46 left but his two point conversion pass failed. The Griffs got one last chance following a defelected interception but Gary Fortune picked off Partridge in the endzone with 11 seconds left to seal the win.
Garin Higgins has compiled a career record of 88-47 in his 12th season as a head coach. He led the Hornets to ten wins for just the second time in school history last year. He is 37-38 in his seventh season at his alma mater and is 28-14 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 0-6 against NWMSU.
Adam Dorrel is 22-6 in his second year at Northwest Missouri. He is 2-0 against ESU.
SCOUTING THE HORNETS
The Hornets lead the nation in turnover margin and red zone offense and ranked in the top three nationally in scoring offense, total offense, passing efficiency and interceptions. Brent Wilson is third in the nation in passing efficiency and points responsible for. Ray Ray Davis is third in the nation in touchdown receptions.
SCOUTING THE BEARCATS
Northwest Missouri is 9-0 overall, 8-0 in the MIAA, ranked #2 in the nation and are the top ranked team in Super Region 3. They are ranked seventh in the nation in total defense and scoring defense and are sixth in scoring offense. They have scored five touchdowns on defense and/or special teams. Trevor Adams is ranked first in the nation in passing efficiency.
This is the 28th meeting in a series that began in 1930. NWMSU leads the series 25-2 and has won 18 straight. The last ESU win was 41-26 in Maryville in 1994.
LAST TIME AGAINST NW MISSOURI
Tyler Eckenrode broke the Hornets single season passing record, but it was not enough as #4 Northwest Missouri defeated #20 Emporia State 55-10 in Maryville, Mo. Eckenrode ended the day 21 of 34 for 267 yards. He connected with eight different receivers led by Ray Ray Davis with nine catches for 138 yards. Josh Taylor led the Emporia State defense with 15 tackles while Chris Poston added five solo stops and his third interception of the season.
The Hornets will play host to #8 Washburn in the regular season finale on Nov. 16 in Welch Stadium. The Senior Day kick-off is set for 1:00 p.m.