Emporia State travels to UCM for fourth road game of 2021

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 7:10 PM CDT
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WARRENSBURG, Mo. (WIBW) - Coming off a Turnpike Tussle win, Emporia State will hit the road this weekend to take on the defending MIAA champions.

UCM is 1-4 this season, but ESU head coach Garin Higgins says the Hornets aren’t overlooking this group.

”I think their record does not show how good they are,” Higgins said. “They’re playing really well right now.”

The Hornets currently lead the MIAA in interceptions and turnover margin. Higgins says continuing to take care of the football and keeping up the pressure on defense will be key against the Mules.

“If you look at us the last five weeks, we have played I think well. One of the biggest things for us has been protecting the football,” he said. “That’s been huge for us, given us opportunities to win games that we’ve lost.”

Emporia State forced five turnovers in last Saturday’s 35-30 win over the Ichabods, while remaining turnover-free themselves.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Braden Gleason has carved a spot in the top-ten performers nationally in a slate of categories. He ranks third in completions, sixth in touchdown passes and eighth in completion percentage and points responsible for.

With Gleason leading the offense, ESU ranks third in the league scoring (34 points per game). They’ll face a struggling defense Saturday that gives up an average of 30.4 points per game — good for ninth-worst in the MIAA.

Still, running back Canaan Brooks says the Hornets are preparing for a battle.

“They’re really physical up front, really big up front,” Brooks said. “Us running backs, we’re going to have to be patient, let things work out up front. Then the back end, they show a lot of different looks, lot of different coverages. We’re going to have to be disciplined and find our spots.”

“We’re going to have to make sure we’re ready to play,” Higgins said. “We’re going on the road after a big win this past week at our place against our rival. So our guys need to show maturity and be ready to play.”

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