(EMPORIA, Ks.) After 12th-ranked Missouri Western's seismic 63-14 win at Pitt State last Saturday, the Griffons took the three-hour joyride back to Saint Joseph.
Then, they drove it right back to Kansas.
The offense continued its hot hand, hanging six touchdowns while the defense provided one more in a 57-28 win over 15th-ranked Emporia State Thursday.
Missouri Western's (8-1, 7-1) eighth straight win over ESU puts them in a three-way tie with the Hornets (8-1, 8-1) and Northwest for first place in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
The ground game again paced the Griffons, amassing a 392-yard effort. Michael Hill, the MIAA's leading rusher, accounted for 183 of those plus a pair of touchdowns.
Those two scores, both from three yards out, were the first for the Griffons in the ballgame. Taylor Anderson added a 43-yard field goal to give Missouri Western a 17-0 lead after the first 15 minutes of play.
Quarterback Travis Partridge had another light outing on his shoulders, completing 12 of 16 passes for 150 yards and a score. He also accounted for 57 rushing yards and another touchdown.
After Anderson's second successful boot, a 30-yarder, Partridge picked up his aerial strike, finding Tyron Crockom for a 19-yard connection, giving the Griffons a 26-0 lead with just under seven minutes left before halftime.
The quarterback added his rushing score of eight yards 2:31 before the end of the half to give his squad a commanding 33-0 advantage.
The Hornets have relied heavily on their passing attack all season. Facing the fourth best pass defense in the MIAA, quarterback Tyler Eckenrode connected on 24 of 48 attempts for two scores and a pair of interceptions.
ESU was held to just 78 yards on the ground.
Eckenrode dug his team in a deeper hole on the outset of the second half. Michael Jordan picked off the signal caller and dashed 91 yards to the end zone for a 40-0 Griffon lead.
The Hornets did show signs of life in the final two quarters, amassing four touchdowns. Eckenrode's two touchdown passes came from distances of four and 22 yards, both in the third quarter. Ray Davis hauled in the first, while Shjuan Richardson was the recipient of the other.
ESU's final two scores came from the legs of Derwin Hall on plunges from one and two yards.
Missouri Western kept the home squad at bay, adding a pair of rushing touchdowns of their own. Backups Raphael Spencer and Dominic Thomas found the end zone on runs of seven and 11 yards, respectively.
Anderson's third field goal of the night, this time from 44 yards, gave the Griffons their final 57-28 lead.
The Griffons return home Saturday, November 3 to host 16th-ranked Washburn on Senior Day.