MidAmerica Nazaerene defeats Baker 45-13

Story by Kyle Davis

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The first quarter of the Baker-MidAmerica Nazarene University football game looked like it could be a repeat of last year’s one-point win, only a defensive battle rather than an offensive shootout.

However, No. 8 MidAmerica Nazarene’s explosive offense ignited in the final three quarters as it won 45-13.

Neither team was able to put points on the board in the first 15 minutes, and quarterback Mack Brown injured his ankle in on the second offensive series, but played the rest of the game.

Three touchdown passes by Pioneers quarterback Tyler Herl and an 87-yard punt return by William Griffin in the second quarter were too much for the Wildcats to overcome. Herl connected on 12 of 20 passes for 213 yards and four touchdowns.

Kicker Derek Doerfler hit a 26-yard field goal with four seconds left in the half to put Baker on the board.

“We didn’t make the plays early and we let a good team start rolling,” head coach Mike Grossner said. “Offensively skill-wise, they are as good as I’ve seen in this league.”

The Pioneers added 17 points in the third quarter, including a 78-yard touchdown pass from Herl to Tim Richmond, to put the game out of reach.

After a Colton Miller interception two-and-a-half minutes into the final quarter that was returned 34 yards, running back Richie Bryant pushed through for a six-yard touchdown run on the first play of the drive.

A second Doerfler field goal, from 29 yard out, with 6:50 remaining in the game finalized the scoring at 45-13.

Brown finished the game completing 25 of 45 passes for 175 yards and threw two interceptions, while Bryant rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries in the game.

The Wildcats have started the season 0-2 after playing two teams ranked in the NAIA Top-25 poll.

“Right now it’s not reflective of the type of team we have,” Grossner said. “I think we’re a pretty good football team, we just need some success to help us get on a little bit of a roll.”