Students cheer on the Baker University football team in its game against Central Methodist University. The Wildcats defeated CMU 31-7.
Photo by Jordan Dolbin.
The Baker University football team exploded for 28 points in the fourth quarter on the way to a 31-7 victory over Central Methodist University Saturday at Liston Stadium.
The Wildcats trailed 7-3 going into the fourth quarter, but the Eagles’ defense allowed three plays for over 40 yards in the final quarter.
Senior John Babb rushed for 109 yards on 12 carries with a 57-yard touchdown run, and junior Jake Green went over the century mark in receiving yards with 102 yards and a 64-yard touchdown reception.
“We got into a rhythm on offense,” Green said. “We were not in a rhythm at all for the first three quarters, so once we started to get some first downs, I think we got a little more confident in ourselves and started putting points on the board.”
The defense turned the game around with a key interception by freshman Steven Sanders to set the Wildcats offense up in Eagles’ territory while trailing 7-3.
“It was big,” Sanders said. “It was actually my first (interception) of the season, so I’m proud of myself for doing that. It helped out the defense and offense a lot.”
Momentum continued to swing in Baker’s direction when head coach Mike Grossner elected to go for it on fourth-and-six instead of kicking a field goal, and Green caught a 10-yard pass to give the Wildcats the first down.
“I felt like at that point to put our freshman kicker in a tough situation, he probably could have made it, but it was right at his limits,” Grossner said. “I felt like we needed to execute a few plays to get going.”
A few plays later, junior Kyle Rooks scored on a two-yard run to put BU up 10-7 and the ’Cats never looked back.
While it took the offense three quarters to get going, the defense was able to contain the Eagles’ high-powered running game for all but one drive.
Junior Ryder Werts led the Wildcats with 16 tackles and was named the NAIA Defensive Player of the Week by Beyond Sports Network.
After falling out of the top 25 two weeks ago with a loss to Evangel University, the Wildcats jumped back into the rankings at No. 22 after Saturday’s win.
The Wildcats are 4-1 on the season and will take on No. 6 Missouri Valley College Saturday in Marshall, Mo.
The Vikings outlasted the Wildcats 17-10 in last year’s matchup at Liston Stadium.
Baker hopes to have sophomore Scott Meyer back in the backfield with Babb against one of the toughest defenses in the nation.
Meyer was on the sideline the majority of BU’s loss to Evangel and all of Saturday’s win against Central Methodist with a fractured ankle.
Missouri Valley is 3-0 on the season and is limiting its opponents to an average of 10.3 points per game.
“This is the biggest game of the year (Saturday), so getting momentum going into that is huge, ” Green said.