Both schools are separated by a mere 17 miles, but play in separate conferences, Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (Ottawa) and the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Baker).
The Wildcats enter Saturday on a 10-game winning streak against the Braves. The teams will be playing for the 79th time in the series. Baker leads all-time 44-32-2 winning the last 10 meetings against Ottawa. On Sept. 11, 1993, Baker prevailed 43-9 in Baldwin City, Kan.
This meeting marks the first time in series history that Ottawa and Baker are ranked in the NAIA Top 25.
The Wildcats will look for their third consecutive winning season in 2010. Baker head coach Mike Grossner enters his seventh season, and currently holds a 32-32 overall record as a Wildcat.
Baker was 7-3 in 2009 ending the season with a five-game winning streak while finishing fourth in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC). Baker last made the NAIA Championship Series in 2008, losing in the first round to Morningside College (Iowa).
"We are really looking forward to this," said Mike Grossner, head football coach of Baker. "There's been a lot of local interest over the last few years playing just junior varsity games against each other. I have great respect for Kent and the progress he has made with the Ottawa University program. We will have to have our guys ready for a big early season challenge."
Ottawa finished 2009 with an 11-1 overall record and a 9-0 record as champions of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC). Ottawa defeated Hastings College (Neb.) in the first round of the NAIA Championship Series 40-34, before falling to Lindenwood University (Mo.) 64-26.
"This is the type of game the alumni from both schools have long been waiting for," said Kent Kessinger, head football coach of Ottawa. "Kicking off our 2010 season with this game adds to our excitement for the upcoming 2010 season."
Kickoff of the First Down Classic is set for 6:00 p.m. CST with the live TV webcast starting at 5:45 p.m. on the Victory Sports Network. Fans can view the live broadcast for the game on our football schedule page.