September 29, 2012- Emporia State connected on an MIAA record seven field goals by thrree different players on their way to a 37-26 victory over Lincoln on Saturday at Welch Stadium. The win moved the Hornets to 5-0 on the season and is the best start by ESU since 2003.
The Hornets won the opening toss and elected to take the ball. After a 33 yard return by Dozie Iwuagwa Emporia State went 55 yards in seven plays to take a 7-0 lead. Derwin Hall scored from one yard out for the first of his two first quarter touchdowns. On Lincoln's second play from scrimmage Jeff Richards picked off a pass at the Blue Tiger 23 yard line and returned to the 21 yard line. Derek Jonas then kicked the first of his two field goals, this one from 33 yards, to give the Hornets a 10-0 lead with 10:35 left in the quarter.
Emporia State got the ball back late in the first quarter at the Lincoln 33 yard line and two plays later Hall took it in from 16 yards out. The quarter ended with the Hornets leading 17-0 and shutting out their fifth straight opponent in the first quarter to open the season.
Jonas' hit a 28 yard field goal with 8:28 left in the second quarter to make it 20-0 Emporia State. Lincoln got on the board with an 18 yard touchdown pass from Lewis Larson to Maurice Woodard wtih 5:21 left in the half. Ryan Louia blocked the extra point attempt to give the Hornets a 20-6 lead.
Eli Kuhns hit the first of his school record tying four field goal on the the Hornets next possession. His 38 yarder made it 23-6 Emporia State with 3:35 left in the half. Aaron Mathews and Tim Chandler combined to sack Larson back to the Lincoln nine yard line on the next possession and Austin Willis blocked Jon Manning's punt out of the end zone for a safety. The Hornets took the free kick and went 37 yards before settling for a 37 yard field goal by Kuhns and a 28-6 lead at the half. The Hornets outgained the Blue Tigers 249 - 135 in the first half.
The Hornets forced a punt on Lincoln's opening possession of the second half and moved in front 31-6 on Kuhns 43 yard field goal with 8:45 left in the quarter. O'Hara Fluellen returned the following kick-off 93 yards to the Hornet five yard line and two plays later Morris Henderson scored to pull the Blue Tigers within 31-13 with 8:01 left in the third quarter.
On the next possession Emporia State got to the Lincoln 34 yard line before Kuhns tied the school record for made field goals and longest field goal with a 51 yard field goal to give the Hornets a 34-13 lead with 4:35 left in the quarter. It was the sixth field goal of the game and tied the MIAA record set by Central Missouri in 1985 against Southeast Missouri. That drive was the last one for Eckenrode and most of the starters.
Emporia State broke the MIAA record for made field goals when Zane Guadagnolo became the third Hornet to connect as he hit a 26 yarder with 10:39 left in the game.
Lincoln would score on a 53 yard pass from Larson to Woodard with 3:26 left in the game to close within 37-20. They scored their final points on a five yard rush by Henderson with 2:06 left, but the extra point attempt missed to make the final score 37-26.
Eckenrode finished the day 22 of 36 for 197 yards through the air and added 52 rushing yards on 12 carries. Hall led Emporia State in rushing for the second straight game with 60 yards on eight carries with two touchdowns. Shjuan Richardson had a team high seven receptions for 66 yards as nine different Hornets caught a pass.
Larson was 12 of 28 for 157 yards with an interception and two touchdowns for Lincoln. Woodard had six receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Donald Malone had a game high 83 yards rushing on eight carries.
Jordan Sanders led the Emporia State defense with nine tackles, 1.5 TFL, an interception and two pass break ups.
Fluellen was the top tackler for Lincoln with 13 stops and three pass break ups.
Emporia State will look to go 6-0 for the first time since starting the 1988 season 8-0 when they travel to Southwest Baptist next Saturday. Kick-off from Plaster Stadium in Bolivar, Mo. is set for 2:00 p.m.
Kuhns tied Justin Gray's school record of four field goals in a game set in 2004 against Missouri Western and Gray's record for longest field goal at 51 yards set three times - against Missouri Western in 2004 and against Pittsburg State in 2003 and 2002.
Emporia State has not allowed a point in the first quarter this season.
The 5-0 start in MIAA play is the best in school history and matches the best start ever in conference play of 5-0 set in 1988 in the Central States Intercollegiate Conference (CSIC).