Baker falls 31-17 to S. Nazarene
BETHANY, Okla. The Crimson Storm took advantage of a storm-like wind for three fourth-quarter touchdowns and a 31-17 victory over Baker University on Saturday in an NAIA football matchup.
"The team that was going to win was the team that did something in this wind," said Baker head coach John Frangoulis. "They did and we didn't, that's the bottom line. It felt like a hurricane out there, but both teams play in the same conditions, they just took advantage of their opportunities."
The Wildcats managed 17 points in their two quarters with the wind at their backs. But Southern Nazarene scored 31 in its two quarters. In the first quarter, SNU jumped to a 10-0 lead on a one-yard touchdown run by quarterback Robby Brosius and a 39-yard field goal by Chris Bogle.
Then it was Baker's turn with the wind. The Wildcats took advantage with a Nate Tubach 31-yard field goal, followed by a 32-yard touchdown pass from Martin Updike to Bryan Williams with 3:44 before the half.
A fumble recovery by BU linebacker Eric Moore set up another scoring chance, but the 'Cats fumbled inside the 10-yard line. Given another opportunity with :07 before the break, Tubach missed wide right on a 37-yard field goal attempt, leaving the halftime score 10-10.
"We had choice in the third quarter and chose the wind," said Frangoulis, whose team took a 17-10 lead into the fourth quarter. "But we didn't produce enough to offset what they did in the fourth quarter, obviously."
Not only did the win improve Southern Nazarene to 4-2, but it was a significant victory for a school in its first season of football over a school rich in football tradition. The loss dropped Baker's record to 3-3.
"The kids played hard as they always do. We just missed opportunities, dropped too many balls. We need more consistency, we need to get the job done in all areas of the game," Frangoulis said.
Crimson Storm running back Jason Kilmer ran for 177 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. His game-winning 82-yard run in the fourth quarter was the longest in school history.
Baker's offense was led by running back Ramon Barber's 43 yards on 16 carries and Updike's 142 yards on 14 of 39 passing. Two Baldwin products led the receiving crew. Williams, a senior, had four catches for 53 yards and a TD while freshman Tyler Inzer added two catches for 24 yards.
Defensively, Moore had 11 solo tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Freshman safety Brett Wahlgren had a 47-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown and also an interception.
After two weeks on the road, Baker will return home Saturday to battle William Jewell College, a Wildcat rival over the years. The Cardinals defeated Baker 19-7 last year in Liberty, Mo., starting a three-game Wildcat skid.
"It doesn't matter who we play next week, we'll be ready to play," said Frangoulis.
Baker is 3-2 in the HAAC, which currently has five of its 10 teams ranked in the NAIA's top 25.
Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Emil S. Liston Stadium during Maple Leaf weekend.
Baker will host the nationally ranked and undefeated MidAmerica Nazarene Pioneers for Homecoming on Oct. 26 at 2 p.m.