Emporia State enjoyed plenty of success on the gridiron last season.
The Hornets began the campaign on a positive note and followed it up with a victory in the Kanza Bowl.
"The success that we had I think our players have responded well and have done a very good during the spring and over the course of the summertime trying to maintain that level of expectation," Emporia State head coach Garin Higgins said.
Higgins enters his seventh season as the head coach of Emporia State and said the players bring a new winning attitude that's been missing from the program in recent years.
"Emporia State football is all about proving a point this year," ESU senior defensive back Julian Dozier said. "Our statement right now is: "We're not done." That's our motto and that's our main goal to prove to everybody that we're not done. We're out here to make a statement."
ESU plays only 10 games during the 2013 regular season and it begins Thursday night at Fort Hays State.
"It's not going to be handed to us," ESU junior running back Jordan Tice said. "The MIAA is a tough conference and we just have go out there and prove ourselves in the conference. We were picked 6th in the preseason rankings so it just shows that last year didn't do anything for us and we have to come back this year and do it again."
It's a new-look Hornets squad that will be forced to replace offensive starters that earned all-conference recognition.
"What we did last year was last year," Higgins said. "This is a whole new season and it starts right off the bat in Hays, Kansas. A very tough place to play."