Emporia State at Central Oklahoma
Game time: 6 pm, Edmond, Okla.
Pregame: 5 pm, Mix 104.9 FM and KVOE.com.

Emporia State wasn’t burned for playing one good half of football as they cruised to a 34-21 win over Nebraska-Kearney last week. Central Oklahoma, however, simply could not stop Pittsburg State en route to its second straight loss.

The keys to victory:

Rushing attack. UCO’s Joshua Birmingham has done well to start the season, with 150-plus yards against Pittsburg State and 172 yards against Missouri Southern. However, ESU did a good job bottling him up last year in Emporia. Meanwhile, Dozie Iwaugwu adds a slippery dimension to the Hornet rushing attack that has been hard to stop since he started running downhill about halfway through the Fort Hays win. Advantage: Hornets

Defense. In Central Oklahoma’s case, there isn’t much of it. Pitt State gained nearly 600 yards last week with Missouri Southern tacking on 473. ESU wore down defensively against Nebraska-Kearney, but a strong start was more than enough to help seal the win. Advantage: Hornets

Motivation: ESU is fighting mad, thinking they lost a chance to make an early statement that these aren’t the same old Hornets from the past decade. Central Oklahoma is honestly fighting for its season, but it needed ESU to be a lot more complacent coming in. Advantage: Hornets

Final score: ESU 48, UCO 23