Baker falls to arch-rival William Jewel
LIBERTY, Mo. Baker University's ride back into the NAIA National rankings won't last long after Saturday's outcome. Baker brought the No. 23 ranking into the game against arch-rival William Jewell, but lost 19-7.
Whatever could go wrong, did go wrong for BU's Wildcats. The offense could only manage six rushing yards for the game. The normally stingy BU defense also gave up huge chunks of yardage try 352 as the Cardinals rallied for the win.
"They just flat out beat us up front on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball," said Baker coach John Frangoulis. "We need to put points on the scoreboard to win football games and we obviously aren't doing that."
Baker actually had the early lead in the game. Sophomore quarterback John Updike found senior wide receiver Matt Neal open in the second quarter and hit him for a 56-yard scoring strike. The conversion kick by Mike Brennan put BU up 7-0 at the 13:18 mark in the second quarter.
But, that also started what would become the theme of the day. William Jewell fullback Sturg Cumberford took over the game. Cumberford ended the game with 128 yyards and also had two touchdowns. The first game on a two-yard run just after Baker's first score. The conversion failed, leaving BU up 7-6 at halftime.
Just into the second half, William Jewell took the lead for good. This time it was through the air on a 61-yard touchdown pass with 13:29 left in the third quarter. The Cardinals went for the two-point conversion, but failed. Still, Jewell was up for good at 12-7.
Trailing by that margin, BU used its only effective weapon on the day to keep Jewell pinned. Punter Marcel Matthews, the fourth-ranked punter in the nation, twice pinned the Cardinals inside their two-yard line. But, Baker couldn't take advantage of the field position edge.
Cumberford made Baker pay, rushing for more yards and eventually capping a drive with a 27-yard touchdown run to give William Jewell its final 19-7 advantage.
"Our offense is struggling and when our defense let down, that really hurt us," said Frangoulis. "We need to get our offensive personnel healthy so they can practice together for a full week."
Individually, Baker had some bright spots. Junior wide receiver Bryan Williams, a Baldwin product, had four catches for 52 yards and Neal had two catches for 65 yards and the lone touchdown. Defensively, senior linebacker Mickey Ramsey had 11 tackles, two for a loss, and a sack. Junior cornerback Matt Tripplett had six tackles and six pass deflections.
It won't get easier for the Wildcats this week, either. They will travel to Olathe to take on No. 8 ranked MidAmerica Nazarene on Saturday.
Baker now stands 4-3 overall and 4-2 in Heart of America Athletic Conference play. Jewell is now 2-3 overall and in league. MidAmerica Nazarne is undefeated.
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