Brown, defense lead BU football past Graceland 44-7

Story by Kyle Davis

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The Baker Wildcats and the Graceland University Yellowjackets are moving in different directions since week two of the season.

After starting the year 0-2, Baker won its fourth game in five chances with a 44-7 win over Graceland Saturday in Lamoni, Iowa. Graceland started the season 2-0, but has now lost five straight.

This was the first win in Lamoni for the Wildcats under head coach Mike Grossner.

“It’s been a long trip home the last couple of times,” Grossner said. “In the first half, defensively, I though we played great.”

Quarterback Mack Brown scored the first touchdown of the game with a three-yard run on a quarterback keeper with 1:13 remaining in the first quarter. The touchdown was set up by a 24-yard pass from Brown to receiver Austin DeGraeve, who was brought down at the Graceland four yard line.

Linebacker Matt Brock forced the first Graceland turnover of the game with an interception in the second quarter. The Wildcats were not able to capitalize on the turnover, as kicker Derek Doerfler missed a 48-yard field goal with 8:30 remaining in the half.

Brown threw an interception in the red zone later in the second quarter, his first interception since the MidAmerica Nazarene University game on Sept. 12.

However, Baker’s defense responded and took over the scoring duties before halftime.

Graceland quarterback Zach Stuart’s first pass, after the Brown interception, was picked off by defensive end Andrew Patch and returned 12 yards for a touchdown. This gave Baker a 14-0 lead with just under four minutes to play in the first half.

“He’s played well all year for us,” Grossner said. “The guy holds down the fort on that end and allows other guys around him to play good football.”

It was a similar story on the next Graceland drive, only this time it was Brock with the interception, his second of the game. Brock also found the end zone on the play, running the interception back 52 yards for a touchdown with 51 seconds left before halftime.

The Wildcats then went for the two-point conversion, and was unsuccessful, making the halftime score 20-0.

After a Graceland three-and-out to start the second half, Baker converted on a fourth-and-one with a run by running back Richie Bryant. The drive was capped off by a seven-yard touchdown pass from Brown to receiver Brad Fawcett to extend the lead to 27.

The Wildcats got back into the Graceland red zone with a 35-yard run by Bryant, down to the 10 yard line, and got a 21-yard field goal by Doerfler.

Just as the second quarter belonged to the Baker defense, the fourth quarter was dominated by Brown and tight end Aaron Rieschick. Brown and Rieschick connected on two touchdown passes in the fourth, the first for four yards and the second for 21 yards, to give Baker a 44-0 lead.

The Yellowjackets finally got on the board, with 5:21 remaining in the game, on a 26-yard touchdown run by running back Jerome Messam. Messam finished the day with 84 yards on 17 carries, and came into the game second in the HAAC in rushing, only behind Bryant.

Patch matched his defensive teammate, Brock, with his second interception of the game. Patch also recorded nine tackles, seven being solo tackles, one behind Brock’s 10 tackles to lead the team.

Although he didn’t find the end zone, Bryant had a very productive day, tallying 188 yards rushing on 29 carries.

Brown recorded four total touchdowns, three passing and one rushing, and threw for 168 yards on 11-18 passing.

Baker takes it’s three-game winning streak back to Baldwin City to take on rival William Jewell College at 1 p.m. Saturday at Liston Stadium. William Jewell is still in search of its first win of the season, after losing to Avila 20-15 in its last game to start the season 0-7.

“Last year, they gave us all we wanted,” Grossner said. “You’ve got to play one half at a time.”

The Wildcats beat the Cardinals 38-28 last year in Liberty, Mo.