No. 3 Lindenwood holds off Baker 52-30

Story by Kyle Davis

No. 3 Lindenwood University, 6-0, showed off its explosive offense, which averages over 57 points per game, early against Baker University in a 52-30 win Saturday in St. Charles Mo.

The Wildcats, 2-3, held the Lions to under their season average for points per game as well as scoring the second most points against Lindenwood this season, yet still came up short. Only Missouri Valley College scored more points against Lindenwood, 37 in an eight point loss, than the Wildcats.

“We were playing a team that might win a national title,” head coach Mike Grossner said. “We’ve got a chance to have a nice year and we’ll see how it all ends up.”

It took just two plays for Lindenwood to get on the scoreboard after returning the opening kickoff to the Baker 49-yard line.

After a 13-yard run on the first play from scrimmage, Lindenwood’s quarterback Philip Staback threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to give Lindenwood a quick 7-0 lead.

After a Baker punt, the Lions then went on a seven-play, 92-yard drive ending with a one-yard touchdown run by Richard Murrell with 7:31 left in the first quarter.

“There are things that we need to correct, but they are correctable,” Grossner said.

The Wildcats answered with an eight-play, 60-yard drive of their own. Quarterback Mack Brown connected on a 17-yard pass to receiver Brad Fawcett on third down and 11 to keep the drive alive. Running back Richie Bryant capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-one with 1:20 remaining in the first quarter.

The momentum gained by Baker on that drive was gone after the ensuing kickoff. Lindenwood’s Denodus O’Bryant took the kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown to keep the Lions’ lead at 14.

Again, the Wildcats answered back, this time with a four-yard half-back pass by Bryant to sophomore Evan Branscum. Kicker Derek Doerfler missed the extra-point attempt making Lindenwood’s lead 21-13.

The Lions tacked on a fourth first-half touchdown, followed by a missed 45-yard field goal attempt by Doerfler, to take a 28-13 lead into halftime.

Staback scored the first touchdown of the second half for Lindenwood on a six-yard run six minutes into the half.

Doerfler bounced back with a 41-yard field goal to cut the lead to 35-16. Like the Lions had done all game, every time Baker scored, they answered. This time it was in the form of a 68-yard touchdown pass from receiver Matt Angell to receiver Marcel Thompson.

Baker scored twice in the fourth quarter, the first being a 3-yard touchdown run by Bryant, his second rushing touchdown of the day. The Wildcats then went for the two-point conversion but were unsuccessful. Brown threw his only touchdown pass of the day to receiver Cody Conover with 1:38 remaining in the game. Again the Wildcats went for the two-point conversion, and this time was successful as Brown found receiver Verlain Betofe in the end zone.

Baker will return home next week to take on Benedictine College at 6 p.m. Saturday at Liston Stadium. Benedictine is 3-3 on the season and is coming off a 31-0 win over Avila.