Seven Field Goals Lead Hornets Past Blue Tigers
EMPORIA, KS - Quarterback Lewis Larson connected with Maurice Woodard for a pair of touchdowns and Morris Henderson ran in two more scores, but the Lincoln football team fell at Emporia State, 37-26, on Saturday. The Blue Tigers gave up just two touchdowns against the Hornets, but Emporia State broke an MIAA record by making seven field goals to secure the win.
Trailing 37-13, Lincoln mounted a late fourth quarter comeback, scoring two touchdowns in the span of 1:14. On third and five from the Lincoln 47, Larson threw a 30-yard dart to Woodard, who outran the ESU defensive backfield for a 53-yard touchdown reception.
An illegal block penalty on the ensuing kick return pinned Emporia State deep on its own side of the field, and the LU defense forced a three-and-out to get the ball back. An 18-yard reception by Woodard and an 11-yard designed keeper by Larson set up Henderson for a five-yard touchdown run, his second score of the afternoon.
The extra point was no good, leaving LU in an 11-point deficit. Following another three-and-out by the Lincoln defense, the Blue Tigers got the ball back with 59 seconds remaining in the game. The offense was unable to move the ball past the Emporia State 48, however, resulting in the final score of 37-26.
Emporia State built its lead largely on a strong 17-point first quarter, in which the Hornets scored on one-yard and 16-yard rushes by Derwin Hall and a field goal by Derek Jonas. It was the first of two field goals by Jonas. Eli Kuhns later made four field goals and Zane Guadagnolo made another, giving ESU seven field goals in total. That broke the MIAA record of six in a game previously set by Central Missouri against Southeast Missouri State on Nov. 2, 1985.
The Blue Tigers got on the scoreboard in the second quarter thanks in part to a special teams miscue by Emporia State. After the LU defense forced a three and out deep in ESU territory, Emporia State's punter, Jonas, shanked a kick out of his own end zone. The 15-yard punt gave Lincoln great field position, with the Blue Tigers taking over on the ESU 20 yard line. Two plays later, Larson found Woodard down the middle for an 18-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was blocked, making the score 20-6.
ESU responded to the Lincoln score with a long kickoff return, leading to the first of Kuhns' field goals. The Blue Tigers were forced to punt out of their own end zone on the next drive, and the Hornets blocked the kick for a safety. That gave ESU the ball back, and the Hornets drove for another Kuhns field goal to enter halftime with a 28-6 lead.
The second half began well for the Blue Tigers. Lincoln received the ball and took over on its own 12 yard line, but on the first play of the half Donald Malone found an opening and raced for 33 yards. Two plays later Malone moved Lincoln into ESU territory with a 14-yard run. The Hornet defense held tough after that, however, and Lincoln only gained one more yard before being forced to punt.
Emporia State drove down and kicked its fifth field goal of the game. On the ensuing kickoff, O'Hara Fluellen caught the ball, found a crease and started a footrace down the sideline, eventually stepping out on the ESU five-yard line. Two plays later, Henderson plowed through a group of defenders into the endzone, cutting the Hornet lead to 31-13.
Larson finished his day with 157 passing yards and two touchdowns. He also gained 43 yards rushing on 11 carries. Malone was the game's leading rusher, gaining 83 net yards on eight carries, while Henderson had 25 yards and two scores on eight touches.
Woodard secured his second-straight 100-yard receiving day, finishing the game with six receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Last week, Woodard caught three passes for 151 yards and a score in a loss at Pittsburg State. Fluellen also had 108 yards on two kick returns, while Byron Williams added 79 more yards on six kick returns.
Defensively, Fluellen led Lincoln with 13 tackles, including 12 unassisted, and added three pass break-ups. Johnny Beautelus added 10 tackles, including eight solo and two for loss. Khalif Stanten and James Jackson each added sacks while Lincoln as a team finished with nine tackles for a combined loss of 21 yards. Jon Manning helped the field position cause with seven punts for 211 yards, an average of 30.1 yards per kick, including a long of 43. On three of those punts, Manning pinned the Hornets inside their own 20.
Hall was the Hornets' leading rusher, gaining 60 net yards and both of ESU's touchdowns. Quarterback Tyler Eckenrode threw for 197 yards and ran for 52 more while Shjuan Richardson was the Hornets' leading receiver with seven catches for 66 yards. Jordan Sanders had nine tackles while Kadeem Satchell had seven.
The Hornets outgained the Blue Tigers in total yardage, 419-339, and won the time of possession battle by holding the ball for 33:33 compared to 26:27 for Lincoln. The Hornets passed for 239 yards compared to 166 for Lincoln, but the rushing totals were much closer, with ESU holding a slight 180-173 edge. Lincoln entered the game with the second-best turnover margin in the league, but lost that battle on Saturday, yielding two interceptions while the Hornets were turnover-free.
With the win, the Hornets improved to 5-0 on the season 5-0 in the MIAA. Lincoln fell to 0-5 on the year and 0-5 in conference play.
The Blue Tigers will be back in the friendly confines of Dwight T. Reed Stadium for three of their next four games, starting next Saturday when Lincoln hosts Washburn. Kickoff for that game is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. CDT.