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The Antelope

The Antelope

Football team comeback late, pick up second win of season at Emporia

Alex McGinnis steps into pocket for a play

JD Rader

After giving up two touchdowns on consecutive drives to start the second half, and squandering a 17-0 lead, Loper fans were starting to have flashes of déjà vu from last week’s game, and last season when UNK was up 17-0 at halftime on the Hornets, but ended up losing 20-17. 

UNK has dominated in first halves this season but struggled in second halves. Against Missouri Southern State, the Lopers were up 33-6 before letting the Lions come within six points. Ultimately, they won the game 39-27. 

Against Central Oklahoma, UNK was up 17-7 in the third quarter before giving up 21 points in the fourth quarter, resulting in a 28-23 loss.

The Loper defense turned the momentum around with a fumble forced by senior safety LaRoy James and recovered by redshirt-senior Sal Silvio. 

“It was similar last year when we played them,” said redshirt-senior quarterback Alex McGinnis. “It was nice to find ourselves in a similar situation with a different outcome. I don’t know if there’s a magic formula about it. We just found a way to win.”

Six plays later, the Lopers were back on top after a TJ Davis one-yard touchdown run. Davis had been used intermittingly through the first two games of the season but was a key to the victory on Saturday. The redshirt-freshman quarterback was UNK’s top rusher, running for 147 yards on 25 attempts and two touchdowns. 

After regaining the lead, the defense shut Emporia State down, not allowing one more first down for the rest of the game. That defense, combined with another touchdown from redshirt-senior running back David Goodwin, brought the final score to 31-21.

Once again, establishing the running game was a huge component of UNK’s success. Both Davis and redshirt-junior running back Dayton Sealey ran for over 100 yards and Goodwin was just ten yards shy of the 100-yard mark. This powerful ground attack also came without offensive weapon Darrius Webb, who was out with a minor injury. 

McGinnis was quick to give credit to the offensive line for UNK’s offensive success. 

“I think a lot of it has to do with how much success our offensive line had. Them doing their job makes everything else so easy,” McGinnis said.

UNK ran the ball 65 times for a season-best 367 yards but had just 64 yards through the air.

The defense was led by James, who had nine tackles and one forced fumble, and Silvio, who had eight tackles, one and a half sacks and one fumble recovery.

This week, the Lopers will welcome No.22 ranked Pittsburgh State to Ron and Carol Cope Stadium, a game the team is looking forward to.

“That’s why you come to UNK, to play the best and beat the best,” said graduate student Luke Quinn. “It’s a good chance to see where we’re at as a team.”

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