Wildcats fall hard in finale
There was an upset in the making during the first half of Saturday's game between Baker University and No. 6 ranked Benedictine. Baker went up 3-0 early and was only trailing 7-3 at halftime.
Then the second half started. Benedictine hung 26 third-quarter points on the Wildcats and made it 33 unanswered points before rolling to a 46-9 win. It happened quickly, too, as Benedictine pounced on a fumble by Baker on the opening kick off of the second half and turned it into a quick touchdown.
"I'd say it was a big factor," said BU coach John Frangoulis of the fumble that helped jump start the Ravens. "They came in and scored immediately after than and just kind of started some momentum going and steamrolled right through us in the second half."
Benedictine followed that with a touchdown about every four minutes. When that dust settled, the Ravens were up 39-3. Baker wasn't finished, though. Matt Triplett picked off a pass and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.
That was it, though, for BU. The extra point was blocked and Benedictine tacked on another touchdown with just 25 seconds left for the final 46-9 margin.
It closed out the season for Baker with a 5-6 overall record and a 5-5 Heart of America Athletic Conference mark. It was the first losing record for Baker since 1996, but Frangoulis saw a lot of heart in the group and is looking forward to next year.
"I'm not disappointed at all in what our kids did this year," he said. "They played hard and we played a lot of young kids. They'll come back and play hard."
They got a good look at how it's done in the second half by Benedictine. After the fumble to open the second half, Benedictine racked up 336 yards of total offense while holding BU to 28.
"They got worn out in the second half with the big people they've got up front and the strong runners they've got," Frangoulis said of the defense. "But the first half the defense played very well."
The offense struggled, too. Benedictine boasts the best secondary in the conference and it showed with a pair of second-half interceptions and 11 passes batted down by the Raven's cornerbacks. BU quarterback John Updike was sacked three times and hurried into numerous incompletions while going seven of 28 for 88 yards.
"They're great corners, the best in the league," Frangoulis said. "Speedwise, we were unable to beat those guys deep. We were playing with a makeshift front (line), a lot of guys who are very young. We handled the pressure in the first half and they kind of teed off on us the second half.
"We also lost Terrance Spencer, and he's our best pass protector as a running back so it was a lot of things," he said.
The statistics showed the beating. Benedictine had 27 first downs to Baker's 11. The Ravens had 370 yards rushing and 144 passing for a total of 514. Baker had 63 yards on the ground, 88 through the air for a total of 151.
On defense, Baker's Mickey Ramsey turned in another stalwart performance with 14 tackles (nine unassisted), two tackles for losses and a sack. Cordell Horn had 10 tackles, eight of those solo. Triplett also had seven solo tackles to go along with his interception for a touchdown.