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Thursday, 23 August 2012 16:30

Baker Takes on No. 11 OU in Opener

Jake Morse and the Wildcat offense will look to lead No. 18 Baker past No. 11 Ottawa on Saturday Jake Morse and the Wildcat offense will look to lead No. 18 Baker past No. 11 Ottawa on Saturday

BALDWIN CITY, Kan. – Five consecutive winning seasons, including five Top 25 rankings in the final poll, have Baker University’s football program poised for a run at a Heart of America Athletic Conference championship and berth in the national playoffs in 2012.

Ranked No. 18 in the preseason NAIA poll, the Wildcats will open against No. 11 Ottawa on Saturday, Aug. 25 for the third consecutive year.

Baker kicked off last season with a 41-16 decision over Ottawa in Baldwin City en route to a 7-3 record.

The game will kickoff at 6 p.m. at Peoples Bank Field and fans can view the game via live video webcast, listen to it on internet radio and can view the game in live stats. All links are available at by clicking here.

The Baker athletics department is selling tickets to all Baker students on Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. in the conference room located on the second floor of Mabee Hall. All tickets are 3$ and are for students only.

Kansas State Bank in conjunction with the Baker Alumni Association is also hosting a FREE tailgate before kickoff for all Baker fans and will be located at the south east corner of 11th & Mulberry in Ottawa, Kan. The tailgate will run from 4-6 p.m., with free hot dogs, hamburgers, and bottled water. Parents of members of the football team will also provide additional sides and desserts. Fans and alumni are asked to bring their own chair.

• Saturday’s matchup between No. 11 Ottawa (Kan.) and No. 18 Baker (Kan.) marks the sixth time these two squads have played each other to open the season. Baker currently owns a 4-1 record in those meetings. This week’s game is tabbed the NAIA’s Game of the Week.

•This is the 81st meeting all-time amongst these two teams dating back to 1891. The Wildcats won the inaugural contest 40-0. Baker owns a 45-33-2 all-time record against the Braves.

• Ottawa enters Saturday looking for a strong start following a 2011 season that saw the Braves claim their second Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) championship in three years and a third-straight NAIA Football Championship Series appearance.

• Last season, Ottawa finished 9-3 overall and 4-1 in home contests. The Braves only home loss came against then-No. 9 Georgetown (Ky.), 21-19. Overall, Ottawa is 22-5 all-time at Peoples Bank Field.

• The offensive player to watch for Ottawa in 2012 is the versatile Shane Gimzo. Gimzo, a First Team All-KCAC utility selection in 2011, split time between wide receiver and quarterback for the Braves last season. He ranked third nationally in total scoring (144) and scoring per game (9.5), while ranking 27th in all-purpose yards (1,297). 

• Defensively, the Braves return a pair of unanimous First Team All-KCAC selections in defensive back Donald Anderson and defensive end Zach Van Deusen. Anderson ended 2011 with 53 tackles (39 solo) and five interceptions (17th nationally), including interception returns for touchdowns against Kansas Wesleyan on Sept. 9 and McPherson (Kan.) on Oct. 15. Van Deusen led the team with 13.5 tackles-for-loss and was tied for the team-high with 4.5 sacks.

• Baker was the fourth-place finisher in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) last season with a 7-3 overall record. The Wildcats were 2-2 in road contests with victories coming at Culver-Stockton (Mo.) and Graceland (Iowa).

• Quarterback Jake Morse, HAAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year in 2011, returns for his third season as the starter for the Wildcats. Morse completed 172-of-282 passes for 2,120 yards and 17 touchdowns a year ago, upping his career total to 3,427 yards, which is fifth all-time among Baker quarterbacks.

• Senior linebacker Ryder Werts anchors a Wildcat defense that ranked 11th nationally in rushing defense per game (98.4) last season. Werts, a four-year starter at Baker, led the team with 78 tackles (41 solo) - 29 more than the next highest Wildcat. 

• Saturday’s contest will be video-streamed live via the KCAC Digital Network. 

• The NAIA Football Game of the Week is selected by fans via the official NAIA Facebook page - Play NAIA. Game of the Week voting will begin on Monday evenings with the winner posted Wednesday morning.



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