With help from senior quarterback Tyler Eckenrode, management information systems major, Shjaun Richardson, senior wide receiver and recreation major, scored a 43-yard touchdown pass with a little over four minutes left in the first quarter, giving the Hornets football team a 14-0 lead over the Bronchos of Central Oklahoma last Saturday at home. This momentum ultimately led the Hornets to a 42-14 victory over the Bronchos at Emporia State’s Family Day.
“They were a new team with a new coach, so we knew if we could get up early they would start having doubt in their minds,” Eckenrode said.
Hornet defense held the Bronchos scoreless in the first quarter, continuing their streak of not allowing a single point all season in the opening quarter.
Senior linebacker Ben Carlson, business administration major, picked off the Bronchos at the start of the second quarter. The Hornets responded by taking the ball 80 yards off of nine plays, ending in a 12-yard touchdown run by Eckenrode, pushing the score to 21-0. The Bronchos responded with a touchdown of their own a minute and a half later, but they were blocked on the extra point attempt.
The Hornets scored right before half, 28-6, with a 1-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Jordan Tice. Tice had 49 of the 81 yards of that scoring drive off of four carries.
The Hornets kept the foot on the gas as they came out in the second half. Eckenrode connected with freshman wide receiver Kavaski Ervin on a 42-yard touchdown pass to cap off a seven-play 80-yard drive, pushing the score to 35-6.
After that, the offense went stagnant, but fortunately the defense made up for it with a few turnovers. Carlson again picked off the Bronchos and recovered a fumble to maintain a Hornet victory.
“We were put in some tight spots, but we knew as a defense that we had to get the ball back. We really excelled in those areas,” Carlson said.
Defensively, the Hornets had five takeaways against the Bronchos, three of them coming from Carlson. Senior linebacker Jordan Sanders recovered one fumble and led the Hornets with 10 tackles. Junior defensive back Chris Poston also recorded an interception for the second straight week.
Offensively, the Hornets racked up 538 yards over the Bronchos. Eckenrode moved up to 3rd all-time in career yardage at ESU, with a 310 yard passing performance and four touchdowns. Richardson caught three of those touchdowns, ending the day with 100 yards from seven catches. Tice led the ground game with 12 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown.
ESU’s record is now 3-0 with their third straight 40-point or more performance. The Hornets look to carry their high octane offense into next week’s matchup at Northeastern State.
“We just need to keep our tempo up and keep doing what we have been doing,” Richardson said.