Lions stung with 52-21 Homecoming loss to Emporia State Hornets


Photo by Romain Polge

Jaron Alexander arguing with the referees. Photo by Romain Polge.

Head coach Patrick Ross knew the Homecoming game against No. 22 Emporia State University (7-0) would be tough, but the Lions (3-4) lacked execution rather than game preparation.

“They just did what they do. That’s really all you can say. They played like one of the nation’s top offenses,” Ross said following the 52-21 defeat Saturday at Hunter Stadium.

“I think our defense did a good job executing the game plan, Emporia was just better on most plays,” Ross said. “I think our tackling was lost at times but for the most part we were in the right position.”

The Lions came into the match up with the undefeated Hornets having lost their last two games in disappointing fashion.

The Hornets entered today’s contest as the nation’s most efficient offense, continuing that trend with a 52-point, 561-yard onslaught.

As the story has gone for the Lions, the offense looked terrific at times, and terrible at others.

Senior Ben Gomez relieved sophomore Dillon Miller at quarterback midway through the second quarter. According to coach Ross, the team was looking for some sort of spark from Gomez, already down 21-7 at that point.

“We thought we might be able to get something out of Ben there, but it just wasn’t happening,” Ross said. “We decided to go back to the guy that got the most reps for the second half, and that was Dillon.”

The Lions equaled No. 22 Emporia State University 7-7 midway through the first quarter, but the Hornets flexed their high powered offense the remainder of the half.

Offensive woes continued for the Lions as Miller was intercepted on just the fourth offensive play of the game.

The teams exchanged punts before the Hornets were able to open up the scoring.

Running back Dozie Iwuagwa broke a 44-yard run up the far sideline on his only carry of the half to put the Hornets up 7-0.

The Lions answered immediately as Dillon Miller led the Lions on a three-play, 61-yard touchdown drive. Miller hit junior Jaron Alexander on a 14-yard pass to knot things up at seven.

The Lions offense struggled the rest of the half, as Gomez, like Miller, was picked on his opening drive.

Hornets quarterback Brent Wilson connected with wide receiver Ray Ray Davis for three scores following the LU touchdown that tied the game. The Lions trailed 28-7 as the teams went to halftime.

The second half was much the same as the first for the Lions. Though LU traded a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter, the game never felt like it was within reach for the Lions in the second half.

The Hornets really put the game out of reach early in the fourth with their final touchdown of the game, making the score 49-21.

They would tack on one final field goal as an exclamation point to a dominating victory to spoil LU Homecoming.

Wilson’s added four touchdown passes, bringing his season total to an MIAA-leading 27 on the year. Quite possibly the best passing attack the Lions will see all year, Wilson and the Hornets took control midway through the first quarter and never looked back.