After a blowout 38-7 loss to Missouri Valley College and a hard fought 33-30 loss to MidAmerica Nazarene University, the Baker University football team desperately wanted a victory going into its first bye week.
A win is exactly what the Wildcats got against Avila University Oct. 8 by a score of 37-20.
“For both the coaching staff and the players, I don’t think that game could have come any quicker for us,” head coach Mike Grossner said. “I felt like the preparation was good all week.”
The victory brought the ‘Cats overall record to 4-3 and was BU’s first win on the road this season.
The Wildcats jumped out to an early 30-0 lead to keep the Eagles at arm’s reach for the rest of the game, but Grossner wants his team to focus on playing a complete football game.
“I felt like we absolutely came out and played great football for about 29 minutes,” Grossner said. “We took a 30-0 lead. Offensively we were precise and good and then the last minute of the half we gave up a 65-yard pass.”
The Wildcats were led by sophomore Jake Morse, who completed 20-26 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns.
The performance was good enough to earn Morse the HAAC Offensive Player of the Week.
The offense also received a boost from sophomore Scott Meyer. Meyer rushed for a touchdown in his first game back from being sidelined with an ankle injury the past three games.
“(Scott) made a pretty big difference,” Babb said. “He’s a very impactful player. He makes some great plays for us. He has a different skill set than I do, so he’s able to do some things that I’m not able to.”
The Wildcats had multiple players step up on the defensive side of the ball. For the second week in a row, sophomore Adrian Pearson filled in for senior Adam Steele. Pearson recorded a team-high of 13 tackles, nine of them which were solo.
“(Adrian) has stepped up big time when we have needed him,” Steele said. “He’s been flying around the field and making plays.”
Baker also won the turnover battle by hauling in three interceptions. Sophomores Trevor Bosak and Emmerson Clarke and freshman Steven Sanders each picked off a pass from Avila quarterback Jacob Hicks.
BU had its first of two bye weeks the week of Oct. 15, but it will be back in action against Culver-Stockton College at 2 p.m. Saturday at Liston Stadium for the annual Homecoming game.
Baker defeated Culver-Stockton 63-10 in last season’s matchup. The ’Cats will then have their second bye week before playing their final two games of the regular season.