A disastrous second quarter effectively ended both the No. 14 Emporia State Hornet football team's upset bid against No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth -- and the Hornets' season in the process.
The Bulldogs scored 28 unanswered points to take a 41-13 halftime lead, cruising to a 55-13 win in the opening round of the Division II playoffs Saturday.
The Bulldogs took almost full advantage of four Corben Jones interceptions in the quarter, converting three of the turnovers into touchdowns. ESU was also held to -2 rushing yards and managed 173 total yards in the defeat.
The loss ends Emporia State's second trip to the D-II playoffs in a decade. Coincidentally, ESU lost at Winona (Minn.) State 10-3 in the first round of the 2003 playoffs.
ESU was tied 13-13 with Minnesota Duluth after one quarter. The Hornets used two Eli Kuhns field goals and a 55-yard scoring pass from Jones to wideout Austin Willis to offset a 55-yard TD run by UMD quarterback Drew Bauer and a 56-yard score from running back Austin Sikorsky before the Bulldogs took control.
Bauer was not effective throwing the football, completing 4-of-10 passes for 34 yards, a touchdown and an interception, but he didn't need to be. UMD, which averaged 287 rushing yards a contest coming into Saturday, had over 300 yards on the ground into the third quarter and finished with 511 total yards, 476 on the ground. Bauer ran 14 times for 179 yards, outgaining ESU with his rushing total, and four touchdowns. Sikorsky ran 15 times for 122 yards and scored once.
Jones, who replaced starting QB Brent Wilson after Wilson broke his collarbone in the Hornets' Nov. 16 win over Washburn, did not fare well in his first start. He finished the game 12-of-35 for 173 yards, a TD and five interceptions.
Emporia State ends the season at 9-2 overall. Minnesota-Duluth now travels to take on No. 2 Northwest Missouri State on Nov. 30.