No. 12/11-ranked Emporia State (Kan.) scored on its first four possessions, all in the first quarter, and the Hornets cruised the rest of the way to a 38-0 win over Northeastern State on Saturday night on Gable Field at Doc Wadley Stadium.
Braden Gleason completed 17 of 19 passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns for Emporia State (3-0, 2-0 MIAA), while Jaylen Varner had three touchdown catches among his four receptions for 119 yards. The win was the 100th as the head coach at Emporia State for former NSU offensive coordinator Garin Higgins.
Three quarterbacks saw action for the RiverHawks, combining to complete 13 of 30 passes for 110 yards. Ben Ward started, followed by Grant Elerick and Sawyer Jones.
Will Bergner caught three passes for 49 yards to lead NSU receivers, whileAvreyPayne,Devin Blayney and Loran Kirk also had three catches. Blake May led NSU rushers for a third straight week, finishing with 27 yards on 11 carries. The RiverHawks managed only 166 yards of offense, while Emporia State had 484.
Linebacker Makarios Brown had a careerhigh 13 tackles to pace the NSU defense while defensive tackle Chris Lee had eight stops.
It took Emporia State less than two minutes to score, on a 13-yard pass from Gleason to Varner. On the Hornets’ next possession, the same duo connected on a 79yard touchdown pass at the 11:54 mark of the first quarter. Caden Dodson booted a 26yard field goal before the third Gleason-to-Varner touchdown pass, which covered 14 yards and came with 2:32 left in the quarter.
Billy Ross Jr. scored on a 1-yard run for Emporia State midway through the second quarter, part of a 23-carry, 104-yard rushing performance.
After halftime, Northeastern State (0-3, 0-3) limited the Hornets to only one touchdown.
NSU’s next game will be next Saturday at 2 p.m. at Missouri Southern in Joplin, Mo.