Football wins crucial road game

Story by Chad Mullens, Writer

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The Baker University football team went back to its winning ways Saturday, defeating the Central Methodist University Eagles 28-14 following two consecutive losses.

Head coach Mike Grossner believed that the Wildcats’ mentality heading into the game was a big factor in the win.

“We had a good week of practice,” Grossner said. “And in pregame, we were saying the right things, and we had leadership from our quarterback that we didn’t have before.”

The leadership Grossner speaks of came from sophomore quarterback Nick Marra, who played in his first game in over a month, coming back from a knee injury to throw for 218 yards and four touchdowns.

“He just brings that confidence,” junior Tucker Pauley said. “He goes out and flies around, and while we are all uptight about how the game is going, he brings the looseness to our team.”

The Wildcats jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and scored again on their first drive of the second. The Eagles were unable to get on the board until 3:52 remained in the half, giving BU a 21-7 lead into halftime.

The first two touchdowns by Marra came from great field position, set up by a 45-yard kickoff return by Dylan Perry, then a 6-yard punt gave the Wildcats a short field, which they capitalized on with an 11-yard touchdown pass to freshman Ledai Shawn Boose.

The run defense struggled at times, giving up 131 yards to Eagles’ running back Tyler Steinkamp, but the Wildcats held the rest of the team to 34 yards on 29 carries.

“They had some success, and they stayed committed to it, even up until the end,” Grossner said.

The Eagles had an uncanny desire to run the ball, but it may have been due to the lack of success in the passing game. CMU quarterback Nic Stephens completed just 10 passes for 78 yards on the day.

Conversely, the Wildcats had one of their worst performances on the ground this season, running for only 68 yards as a team.

“We knew it would be tough sledding,” Grossner said. “We thought we would be able to throw the football early, then get our run game going, and I think we would have done better if not for all the penalties.”

Ranked 13th in the country coming into the game, the Wildcats will likely have to win their next game against Missouri Valley College to ensure a playoff spot. Grossner has been well aware of the playoff-type atmosphere leading up to these last two contests.

“This game against Central Methodist was a playoff game for us, because if we lose we’re out of the race,” he said.

The senior day game with Missouri Valley will begin at 1 p.m Saturday at Liston Stadium. The Vikings will come into the game with a 7-2 record, 6-2 in Heart of America Athletic Conference play. The last time the two teams met, the Wildcats pulled off a 13-10 victory on the road, behind two 50+ yard field goals by Clarence Clark.