Turnpike Tussle: #10 Emporia State vs. #15 Washburn

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

The most played active rivalry in NCAA Division II returns to Jones Field at Welch Stadium when #10 Emporia State hosts #15 Washburn. It will be the 110th meeting between the two and for the second straight year the winner will likely go to the post season

The #10 Emporia State football team gave up seven sacks and had two punts blocked in a 48-21 loss to #2 Northwest Missouri on Saturday afternoon in Welch Stadium. The loss snapped a ten game winning streak for the Hornets dating back to last season. Kavaski Ervin had five catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns. Hornet quarterbacks combined to go 14 of 25 for 209 yards and two touchdowns with Wilson going 12 of 23 for 131 yards and Jones hitting both of his passes for 78 yards. Antonio Brown had 68 yards on 13 carries. Jordan Sanders had 11 tackles with a forced fumble and recovery while Ashton Reichmann had ten stops.

Garin Higgins has compiled a career record of 88-48 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 37-39 in his seventh season at his alma mater and is 28-15 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 1-5 against Washburn.
Craig Schurig is 87-50 in his 12th year at Washburn. He is 9-2 against Emporia State.

The Hornets lead the nation in turnover margin and red zone offense and are ranked in the top ten nationally in scoring offense, total offense, passing efficiency and interceptions. Brent Wilson is fifth in the nation in passing efficiency and touchdown passes. Ray Ray Davis is sixth in the nation in touchdown receptions.

Washburn is 8-2 overall, 7-2 in the MIAA and ranked #15 in the AFCA Poll. They lead the MIAA in pass efficiency defense.

The Turnpike Tussle is the most played active rivalry in NCAA D-II. This is the 110th meeting in a series that began in 1899. The Hornets lead the series 52-51-6. This is the first time in the 110 games that both teams will enter the game with at least eight wins.

Tyler Eckenrode completed his first 13 passes as #25 Emporia State defeated Washburn 55-23 at Yager Stadium in Moore Bowl. The win snapped an eight game losing streak to the Ichabods and gave the Hornets a 9-2 record on the season. Eckenrode finished the game 26 of 30 for 364 yards and four touchdowns while gaining 39 yards on 13 carries. He connected with seven different receivers and had at least a 12 yard completion to each of them. Adam Schiltz had a career high 150 yards on eight catches Ben Carlson had a game high 13 tackles.

With a win Emporia State will likely secure either an NCAA Playoff spot or the MIAA's slot in the Mineral Water Bowl. The NCAA selection show will be Sunday at 4:00 p.m. (CT) and shown on ncaa.com.

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