Lopers Exercise Second Half Demons, Hold Off ESU 31-21

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EMPORIA, Kan. - Redshirt freshman quarterback TJ Davis ran for 147 yards and two touchdowns and junior running back Dayton Sealey added 124 more yards to help Nebraska-Kearney hold off Emporia State, 31-21, Saturday afternoon in Kansas.

This is the Lopers (2-2) first win in Emporia since 1983. The Hornets (1-3) had won four in a row and 10 of the last 11 over UNK.

Kearney came in having outscored its opponents 43-13 in the first half and being out scored in the second half by a 42-19 margin. That scenario played out once again as the Lopers led 17-0 late in the first half only to trail 21-17 midway through the third quarter.

Emporia seemingly had even more momentum when it stopped Davis (Colorado Springs), sharing snaps with senior starter Alex McGinnis (Crete) today, for no gain on a 4th and 2 from the Hornet 36-yard line. However, senior safety LaRoy James (Opa-locka Fla.) caused a fumble two plays later and senior inside back Sal Silvio (Kansas City) recovered the loose ball.

After an 18-yard run by Davis put UNK in a first-and-goal situation, a Hornet penalty negated an eight-yard loss on a Loper fumble. That fortuitous flag led to a one-yard scoring plunge by Davis ion the very next play and UNK didn't trail again.

The Hornets were stopped on its next drive and shanked punt of four yards had UNK in business. However, E-State stuffed Davis once again on 4th and 2 from its own two-yard line. The Loper "D" came up big once more, forcing another punt and an 11-yard return by graduate student Luke Quinn (Scottsdale, Ariz.) moved the ball into Hornet territory. data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP///wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw%3D%3D​

While UNK fumbled three plays later, the defense forced a third straight punt and then offense shut the door with a seven-play, 80-yard drive that took 3:19 off the clock. A four-yard TD run by senior back David Goodwin (Lauderhill, Fla.) capped things with the big gainers on the drive being a 46-yard gallop by Goodwin and a 24-yard scamper by Sealey on 3rd and 5 from the Hornet 29-yard line.

This marks just the second time in the MIAA era UNK has had multiple 100-yard rushing efforts in the same game and it was almost three as Goodwin tallied 90 yards on 13 totes. Note UNK was minus leading rusher Darrius Webb (Allentown, Pa.) and sophomore receiver Montrez Jackson (Trenton, Fla.) today, both out with minor ailments.

UNK out gained ESU by a 431-239 margin and had an 11-minute advantage in time pf possession. The Lopers went 5 of 7 in the red zone including four TD scores and rushed 65 times for 367 yards (5.6 ypc).

Davis reached his total in 25 attempts, Sealey had 19 carries with the passing game providing 64 yards in four completions. Quinn had a 27-yard reception with redshirt freshman Aubrey Marschel-Parker (Aurora, Colo.) having a 29-yard gainer.

Emporia was led by sophomore QB Dalton Cowen who was 21 of 32 for 161 yards. Sacked five times, he had 14 carries for 12 net yards. He completed passes to eight different teammates with top back Carlos Grace tallying 59 yards on 19 totes. He came in averaging seven yards a carry.

James paced the Loper defensive effort with nine tackles (six solo) while Silvio had eight (six solo) and redshirt freshman end Tell Spies (Mullen) stopped five Hornets. The sacks came from four different Lopers with Silvio and senior end Hinwa Allieu (Gaithersburg, Md.) at 1.5 apiece.

UNK hots the nationally-ranked Pittsburg State Gorillas (2-0) next Saturday night. Pitt hosted Northeastern State (0-2) tonight.