Baker pitches second straight shut out
Lamoni, Iowa For the second week in a row, the Baker defense posted a shut out. And for the first time since 1994, the Wildcats were able to pull off a win at Graceland's Bruce Jenner Stadium, this time by a 28-0 count.
"It was good to get a win. It was good to get a conference win. We haven't been able to win up here since 1994," said Baker head coach John Frangoulis, who won his 40th game as Wildcat head coach.
A stiff wind kept both offenses at bay, but Baker's was just good enough to put some points on the scoreboard. But it was the defense that proved key for Baker.
Baker linebacker Oliver Kurtz returned a first-quarter fumble 10 yards for the game's first score. Shortly after, Baker's leading rusher, Ramon Barber, punched the ball into the end zone from two yards out for a 14-0 first quarter lead.
"Scoring early helped us, especially with the wind conditions. Our defense gave us great opportunities," Frangoulis said.
In the second quarter, Baker quarterback Martin Updike scored on a one-yard touchdown run. Then, just before half, it was the special teams coming up big for the Wildcats. Baker's blocked kick school record-holder Eric Moore did his thing and defensive back Matt Tripplett returned the block 10 yards for a 28-0 Wildcat lead at the half.
"Our defense and special teams have done that two weeks in a row for us," said Frangoulis. "The wind was a big factor; it affected both offenses. You know you will play into it two of the four quarters so it's important to take advantage while you can. It affected our passing plans, but Updike made great decisions today fundamentally and protected the ball for our offense."
Updike, ranked 18th in the nation in passing and eighth on BU's all-time passing leaders, completed only four of 11 passes for 33 yards. Alpha Iscandari caught three of those for 29 yards. But it was a combination running attack by two sophomores (Barber and Justin Cobb) that fueled the Wildcat offense. Barber totaled 96 yards on 23 carries while Cobb added 42 on 11 carries.
"Ramon is a solid back for us. He runs hard, but we also want to use Justin more to give Ramon breaks," Frangoulis said. "He gives us another weapon and we can have two quality, rested backs throughout the entire game."
The Baker defense held Graceland to 51 yards rushing on 41 attempts, and to 64 yards passing on five of 26 accuracy. Baker dominated possession time 50 minutes to 25.
A negative for the Wildcats, however, were injuries. After losing starting offensive lineman Landon Brittain for the season two weeks ago, more Wildcats went down Saturday. Starting linebacker Karl Barron, as well as the team's top two receivers (Jason Filbeck and Ryan Habich) all left the game. The seriousness of the injuries is not yet known.
"We have a lot of depth, which helps us, but we hope to have those players back on the field soon," Frangoulis said. "We do have a lot athletic receivers and we have quite a few linebackers with a lot of game experience. We have always tried to play a lot of players. The more playing experience they get the stronger our team is over the course of the season."
Mark Foland filled in at linebacker for Barron and recorded eight tackles. Two Baldwin High School graduates (senior Bryan Williams and freshman Tyler Inzer) played receiver for Filbeck and Habich.
The Wildcats will travel to Bethany, Okla., Saturday for a 2 p.m. game against Southern Nazarene (2-3), a team in its first official season of NAIA football. The Wildcats will return home to host the William Jewell Cardinals on Saturday, Oct. 19, at Liston Stadium.