No. 18 Emporia State traveled to No. 6 Minnesota State-Mankato to open the Division II playoffs on Saturday.
The Hornets weren’t intimidated by the chill in the air, Minnesota State’s undefeated record, or anything else.
That was especially true for sophomore kicker Austin Morton, who stepped up and drilled a 33-yard field goal on the last play of the game that pushed Emporia State to an epic 51-49 victory.
The Hornets, 10-2, trailed 28-10 late in the second half before scoring 35 consecutive points.
But Minnesota State-Mankato, 11-1, rallied and regained the lead at 49-48 lead with 8:27 to play.
J.P. Lohrentz made huge play for Emporia State, as he intercepted a pass from the Mavericks with 1:51 to go.
The Hornets methodically drove 27 yards over eight plays to set up Morton’s game-winning kick.
Emporia State moved the ball almost exclusively through the air. Quarterback Brent Wilson finished with 437 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions.
Three receivers finished with more than 100 yards for the Hornets: Kavaski Ervin had six receptions for 139 yards and three touchdowns. Morris Williams had eight catches for 159 yards and a score. Mitchell Foote had 116 receiving yards on eight catches.
Emporia State will play the winner of the game between Henderson State and Sioux Falls.
Baker’s aerial prowess was on full display on Saturday as the No. 2 Wildcats beat No. 17 Point (Ga.) 68-21 in Balldwin City, Kan.
Sophomore quarterback Logan Brettell tied a Baker school record with six touchdown passes. Brettell finished with 419 yards, just 14 yards shy of the school’s single-game record for passing yards.
Brettell’s favorite target on Saturday put up some sweet numbers as well.
Clarence Clark caught seven passes for 200 yards and four scores, finishing 21 yards short of the school’s single-game receiving mark.
Adonis Powell rushed for 90 yards on 16 carries for the Wildcats.
The defense got in on the scoring as well, returning a pair of fumbles for touchdowns.
Baker improved to 11-1, tying the school record for victories in a season. The Wildcats will find out their quarterfinal opponent on Sunday.