Mules football suffered its second straight loss and first at home this season 41-23 to Emporia State Saturday at Walton Stadium/Kennedy Field.
Central Missouri gave up 20 points in a quarter for the second consecutive game after the Hornets piled on three touchdowns in the second quarter. Hornets quarterback Braxto Marstall torched the Mules, going 24-33 with 278 yards and two touchdowns. He also added two touchdowns on the ground.
The Mules offense weathered the Hornets’ second quarter assault with touchdown passes from Jeremy Hunt to wide receivers Ryan Sass and Jalen Marsalis narrow Emporia State’s lead to 27-17 at halftime
The Mules’ defense went to work in the second half, forcing punts on all but one of the Hornets third quarter drives. However, the offense could not capitalize, gaining just 29 yards in the third quarter.
Emporia State’s offense got back on track in the fourth quarter and scored two quick touchdowns to take a 41-17 lead.
Marsalis hauled in his second touchdown of the day on a 24-yard throw from Hunt to cut the lead to 41-23.
Hunt finished the game 19-48 with 265 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He has thrown for 1,792 yards, 15 touchdowns and six interceptions in his first season.
Sophomore running back Devante Turner was the Mules leading rusher with 99 yards on 18 carries. Sophomore Koby Wilkerson added 61 yards on 12 carries.
Marsalis’ two touchdowns were the first of his college career as his role as a receiver has evolved in the absence of senior Kyrion Parker.
The Mules fall to 3-4 on the season and are ninth in the MIAA standings.
Next up for Central Missouri is a road trip to Pittsburg State. The Gorillas are 5-2 and third in the MIAA standings, but have cooled off from a 5-0 start with back-to-back losses to Northwest Missouri State and Fort Hays State.
The matchup is part of the NCAA Division II Showcase and will be broadcasted locally on KMOS.
Kickoff between the Mules and Gorillas is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Carnie Smith Stadium in Pittsburg, Kansas.