The Baker Orange

No. 8 BU football team rolls past No. 20 Peru State

Story by Chad Mullens, Writer

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The No. 8 Wildcats bounced back from their first loss of the season with a 35-10 pounding of the No. 20 Peru State College Bobcats in the NAIA Game of the Week on Saturday.

After giving up a season-high 35 points against Benedictine College last week, the defense was back in a rhythm on Saturday. The run defense was stout, allowing just 224 yards to a Bobcat team averaging over 280 per game coming into Saturday. The passing game for the Bobcats was practically nonexistent, with PSC quarterback Tyler Audsley going 2-9 for 9 yards and an interception. The Wildcats also forced three fumbles and picked off an Audsley pass, all in the first half.

“Coach Thoren is one of the best people to teach us any kind of offense and show us how to stop it,” junior defensive end Nick Becker said. “He studies so much film, he says he gets around four hours of sleep.”

Head coach Mike Grossner gave special credit to the linebackers.

“You hope the defensive line is part of stopping the run, but the job is really for the linebackers, and they did a great job,” Grossner added.

The standout linebacker from the game was senior Tucker Pauley, who led the Wildcats with 11 tackles, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble.

“He’s like a coach on the field,” Becker said. “He is probably studying film as much as anyone on the defense, and he’s always prepared.”

Grossner was impressed with all of the linebackers, including junior Sam Wescott, who filled in for junior Akim Francis, who was in and out of the game.

“To fill in for Akim, who is probably our most physical linebacker, that’s a tough job,” Grossner said. “I didn’t watch him too closely, but I could tell he did a great job because the rest of the defense worked so smoothly with him in the game.”

Quarterback Nick Marra had a redemption game, responding to last week’s four interception performance with a 298-yard, three touchdown game while completing 32 of 51 pass attempts.

“He’s been here for a while now, and he knows the offense really well,” sophomore wide receiver Clarence Clark said.

Becker also praised Marra.

“As a defensive lineman going up against him every day in practice, I can tell he has great vision,” Becker added.

Marra now leads the NAIA in passing yards with 1,739 and is second in touchdowns with 18.

The run game was not featured as much on Saturday for the Wildcats, but a new rushing threat was established in sophomore Cornell Brown. Primarily a wide receiver, Brown had 12 carries for 62 yards and a 5-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

“It’s great for us formation-wise, because when we’re running the spread, we can have Cornell out wide, and then switch the formation and have him in the backfield,” Grossner said.

Clark had another stellar game with eight catches for 94 yards and a touchdown. He leads the Wildcats in receiving with 508 yards and six touchdowns through six games. Juniors Ladai Shawn Boose and Damon Nolan each added six catches and a touchdown.

“We have a talented group of guys out there, and we just try to make it as easy on Nick (Marra) as possible,” Clark said.

The Wildcats held a 28-3 halftime lead and increased it to 35-3 on a Marra-Boose 17-yard connection in the third quarter. The defense held the Bobcats without a touchdown until a run by Travis Carnahan with 1:20 left in the game.

The Wildcats will take a 5-1 record into the bye week. Then they play Avila University at 1 p.m on October 17 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Eagles hold a 1-5 record, last losing to William Penn 51-29 on Saturday.

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