Braden Gleason ESU football

Emporia State quarterback Braden Gleason (10) looks to pass to stinger-back Dalton Cowan (5). Gleason broke a school record with 48 completed passes against Central Missouri on Saturday.

WARRENSBURG, MO. – Braden Gleason set a new school record with 48 completions and a new career-high with 497 passing yards but a disastrous second half sunk Emporia State in a 45-38 road loss to Central Missouri Saturday afternoon.

After taking their first lead of the day at 28-24 with 7:51 left in the third period, the Hornets (3-3) watched as everything collapsed in quick succession.

The Mules (2-4) regained the lead on the next play from scrimmage, a 72-yard touchdown pass from Logan Twehous to Cameron Saunders. Two plays later, Hornet quarterback Braden Gleason was sacked and fumbled the football. Central Missouri’s Chima Dunga scooped it and scored it, putting Emporia State behind 38-28 just 66 seconds after it jumped on top.

But it kept getting worse.

The Hornets lost fumbles on each of their next two possessions, with the Mules scoring off the second to go up 45-28 with 13:57 left in the game.

Emporia State would add a field goal and a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but Gleason threw two interceptions — including one with less than 90 seconds left — and Central Missouri held on.

Despite the loss, Emporia State had its best statistical performance of the season on offense. The Hornets outgained the Mules 665-496 and were 11-of-14 on third down while holding Central Missouri to 3-of-12.

However, they turned over the ball six times, committed 14 penalties for 130 yards, turned it over on downs twice and missed a field goal.

Gleason finished 48-of-67 for 497 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions while adding 33 yards and a touchdown on six rushing attempts.

Eleven receivers caught passes for Emporia State. Wil Amos had nine receptions for 76 yards, Dalton Cowan had seven for 85 and a TD, Cole Schumacher had six for 46 and Canaan Brooks had five for 54.

Brooks was the Hornets’ leading rusher with 79 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.

Emporia State fell behind 14-0 less than six minutes into the game and then 21-7 with 9:46 left in the second quarter. The Hornets scored the final 14 points of the first half to tie the game up 21-21 at intermission.

This was Emporia State’s third loss of the season, third loss on the road, third loss by a touchdown or less, third loss after scoring 28 or more points and second loss after outgaining the opponent.

The Hornets will return next week to host No. 22 Nebraska-Kearney. The Lopers are 5-1 after beating Missouri Western 35-14 on Saturday.

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