WARRENSBURG, Mo. -- LaVance Taylor had a record-breaking day as the Central Missouri Mules raced past No. 19 Emporia State 50-31 on Thursday night (Sept. 11) at Walton Stadium/Kennedy Field. Taylor set three single-game school records, tied a career record in helping the Mules to their 13th straight win over Emporia State.

Taylor set Central Missouri single-game records for rushing yards with 288, all-purpose yards with 394 and total touchdowns with six. He also tied the school career record with his third kickoff return for a touchdown.

His first touchdown of the day, an 11-yard touchdown pass from Hayden Hawk put the Mules (1-1, 1-1 MIAA) in front 7-0 midway through the first quarter. The 19th-ranked Hornets (1-1, 1-1 MIAA) didn't waste any time in evening the score. Brent Wilson hit Reese Richards over the middle for an 18-yard touchdown to knot the score just 2:06 later.

The Hornets went in front on their next possession when Wilson hit Austin Willis for a 53-yard score to lead 14-7. The Mules answered right back as Taylor took the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for his third career kickoff return for a touchdown and his third in the last four games.

After a high-scoring first quarter the defenses seemed to gain control early in the second. The Mules drove deep into Hornet territory, only to have Josh Monteagudo pick off a pass in the end zone to halt one drive. The defenses forced punts on five straight drives after that.

UCM got the ball back on their own 23 with 4:17 to go in the half. Hawk scrambled for a first down on third and seven and a personal foul penalty tacked on 15 more yards to put UCM in Hornet territory. Hawk then hit Sean Gorman for a 38-yard gain down the sideline to give the Mules a first and goal at the six. Taylor rushed it in on the next play to put UCM up 21-14.

The Hornets answered back with a 10 play, 79 yard drive that took just 2:32. Wilson hit Willis again, this time from 10 yards out to tie the game at 21-21 as they went into halftime.

Neither offense could do much out of the intermission as they traded punts to start the half. The Mules got the ball back on their own 20 with just over 9:00 to play in the third. Taylor rushed around right end for almost eight yards, but was hit and fumbled. The Hornets recovered at the Central Missouri 33 and two plays later they took a 28-21 lead on an Antonio Brown four-yard touchdown run.

It didn't take Taylor long to atone for his fumble. On the second play of the drive he rushed up the gut for 67 yards and a touchdown. The snap on the extra point was high and holder Garrett Fugate ran around left end for a two-point conversion and gave UCM a 29-28 lead.

The Mules got an interception from Kadarius Green on the next possession, but couldn't manage anything offensively and were forced to punt. The Hornets started inside their own 20 yard line before driving near midfield. The Mule defense stiffened and forced a punt. A herd of Mules crashed the punt attempt and blocked Justin Marcha's attempt.Diaron Rhodes scooped it up and ran 22 yards for a touchdown and a 36-28 lead.

Early in the fourth quarter the Hornets drove 78 yards in 16 plays, but were forced to a field goal attempt. Austin Morton connected from 26 yards out to pull ESU within 36-31, but that's as close as they would get.

Two drives later, after forcing an ESU punt, The Mules went 98 yards in six plays, capped by a 75-yard Taylor touchdown run to lead 43-31. On the ensuing kickoff Emporia State fumbled and the Mules recovered at the Hornet 22. On the next play Taylor rushed into the record books with his sixth touchdown of the day and a 50-31 UCM lead.

The Mules racked up 575 yards of total offense, including 341 on the ground. Taylor rushed 23 times for the single-game record 288 yards and four scores. He also added three receptions with a TD and 98 kickoff return yards and a score.

Hawk finished the day 17-of-36 for 234 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. Anthony Kirkwood led the receiving corps with four catches totaling 23 yards. Kyle Echolshad three catches for 70 yards.

Defensively, the Mules held Emporia State to 66 yards rushing and Ricky Spratley led the way with 16 tackles. Alex Perlin had 11 tackles as well.

Emporia State totaled 555 yards of offense, with 489 coming through the air. Wilson was 40-of-62 for 489 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Brown rushed 21 times for 60 yards and a score and added 43 yards on 12 receptions. Willis had 178 yards receiving with two scores on eight catches.

The Mules return to action next Saturday, Sept. 20 at Northwest Missouri. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

(Courtesy of UCM Athletics)

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