TOPEKA, KANSAS- A defensive slugfest in
the first half to an offensive shoot-out in the second half made for a close finish when it was all said and done..
Big plays and turnovers left the Texas A&M – Kingsville Javelinas (6-6) with a 45-38 loss after falling to No. 24 ranked Emporia State Hornets (10-2) in the 4th annual Kanza Bowl Sunday afternoon at Hummer Sports Park.
“We lost the turnover, penalty, and big play battle, and you can’t expect to win many games like that,” said Head Coach Bo Atterberry.
The Hogs turned the ball over five times during the loss, and ended their season 6-6.
The Javelinas would get on the board first early in the second quarter as running-back Anthony Johnson ran in for 31-yard touchdown to give the Hogs the early 7-0 lead.
The Hornets however, would go on to score 21 unanswered points following two Javelina miscues, including a fumble by Joseph Vela and a failed fourth down conversion on their own 28 yard line.
Emporia State would take a 14-7 lead into the half, following a Brian Ehrlich interception in the red zone on the final drive of the first half as the Hogs were looking to tie up the game.
At the start of the third quarter the Javelinas quickly saw their deficit jump to 14 points as the Hornets scored quickly on their first possession of the second half with a 77-yard touchdown strike.
The Javelinas when then get back into the game with a 31- yard touchdown pass from Ehrlich to tight end Jake Willingham to make the score 21-14, followed by the two exchanging touchdowns with a Hornet 76-yard kick return aiding them.
The Hogs would respond as they mounted their own scoring drive on the ensuing possession as Javelina running-back Randall Toney cut the lead with a touchdown from one yard out after a 50- yard reception from Christian Taylor.
The Hogs had a chance to tie the game up at 28 following a strong defense stand, but had their drive stalled just outside the red zone, and would have to settle for a Matt Stoll field goal making the score 24-28.
The Hornets would add another touchdown to increase their lead 35-24.
The Javelinas scored again late in the fourth quarter as Ehrlich connected with Johnson from six yards out to make it 31-35 with a little less than five minutes remaining in the game.
This would be as close as the Javelinas would get to the Hornets, who would go on to score ten unanswered points, including a 75-yard touchdown pass and a 44-yard field goal that sealed the game for Emporia State.
The Javelinas would score, but the ensuing onside kick was unsuccessful, sealing the game at 45-38.
“It shouldn’t have even been a shoot-out on our end but those five turnovers hurt us,” said receiver Robert Armstrong.
During the game the Javelinas scored a season high 38 points and put 559 yards of total offense but all that was overshadowed by five turnovers including four Ehrlich interceptions. Ehrlich went for 418 yards on 36-65, Armstrong caught ten passes for 109, with the ten catches it gave him a school record 67 catches on the season to go along with getting named player of the game for the Javelinas
The Hogs defense gave up 313 total yards but 310 yards came through the air as the Hogs shut the Hornets down on the ground, allowing only three rushing yards the whole game.
“We did a good job in stopping the run but we still got burned in the passing game, giving up big plays all game and those big plays turned out to be the difference,” said linebacker Jeremy Aguilar who led the defense with nine tackles and a Kanza Bowl record four and half sacks for a loss and one sack.
Its sad that we weren’t able to send our seniors out with a win but we are grateful to have made it this far,” said Atterberry.