From Staff reports
EMPORIA, Kan. — Emporia State quarterback Brent Wilson completed 27 of his 41 passes for 410 yards and five touchdowns as No. 24 Hornets beat Northeastern State, 45-24, at Welch Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Hornets (4-0, 4-0 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association) used three long scoring plays through the air to deter the RiverHawks (0-4, 0-4). Wilson hit Austin Willis for two long touchdown passes through the air — one on a 52-yard touchdown in the first quarter and another on a 39-yard strike in the fourth quarter. Wilson's longest touchdown pass of the day was a 60-yarder to Kavaski Ervin in the second period — it also broke a 14-14 tie and gave the Hornets the lead for good in the game.
"You take away three long pass plays and the game is 24-24," NSU head coach Kenny Evans said. "Mistakes in the secondary cost us 21 points. That are kind of back-breakers, and they gave them an advantage."
Terrance Dixon led the RiverHawks on offense, racking up 132 yards and two touchdowns on 27 rushing attempts. The junior tailback from Sand Springs also had a team-high six catches for 88 yards.
Dixon had the game's first score on a 26-yard run less than three minutes into the contest.
Emporia State would follow with the two scores — Wilson's first TD pass to Willis and a 13-yard touchdown reception by Ervin from Wilson — to take the lead.
Early in the second quarter, NSU quarterback Thor Long — who turned out his best performance in his brief three-start tenure while passing for 218 yards on 18 of 30 passing attempts — hit Nick Whitlow for a 19-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 14.
From there, it was all Hornets, save for a 44-yard field goal by NSU's Drew Patton late in the second quarter.
Emporia State broke a tie in the second quarter and tallied 31 of the next 34 points in the game.
Three different receivers finished with at least six catches for Emporia State. Willis had a team-high nine grabs, while Ervin and Ray Ray Davis (74 yards and a touchdown) had six receptions apiece.
For a team already hampered by injuries on both sides of the ball, it didn't get any better for NSU against Emporia State. Long left the game in the fourth quarter with a concussion, and he was relieved by Cory Meaders, who was 4 of 5 for 53 yards.
Steffon Herd also left the game for the RiverHawks with a separated shoulder.
Northeastern State will return home next and host No. 3 Northwest Missouri State, which beat Nebraska Kearney 53-7 this week.
Emporia State 45, Northeastern State 24
NSU 7 10 0 7 -- 24
ESU 14 7 10 14 -- 45
NORTHEASTERN STATE — Terrance Dixon 26-yard run (Drew Patton kick), 12:25.
EMPORIA STATE — Austin Willis 52-yard pass from Brent Wilson (Eli Kuhns kick), 3:41.
ESU — Kavaski Ervin 13-yard pass from Wilson (Kuhns kick), 0:02.
NSU — Nick Whitlow 19-yard pass from Thor Long (Patton kick), 11:47.
ESU — Ervin 60-yard pass from Wilson (Kuhns kick), 10:41.
NSU — Patton 44-yard field goal, 4:14.
ESU — Kuhns 41-yard field goal, 12:20.
ESU — Ray Ray Davis 18-yard pass from Wilson (Kuhns kick), 4:45.
ESU — Willis 39-yard pass from Wilson (Kuhns kick), 14:22.
ESU — Antonio Brown 3-yard run (Kuhns kick), 6:26.
NSU — Dixon 21-yard run (Patton kick), 3:24.
First downs 24 25
Rush 6 6
Pass 16 19
Penalty 2 0
Rush-yds 40-131 36-174
Pass comp 22 28
Pass att 35 42
INT's thrown 0 1
Pass yards 271 411
Total yards 402 585
Punts-avg 6-32.5 2-41.0
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 4-45 7-80
NSU: Terrance Dixon 27-132.
ESU: Brent Wilson 13-75, Antonio Brown 10-51.
NSU: Thor Long 18-30-0 218.
ESU: Wilson 27-41-1 410.
NSU: Dixon 6-88, Ray Dobbs 4-48.
ESU: Austin Willis 9-152, Kavaski Ervin 6-93, Ray Ray Davis 6-74.