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11.23.13 | M Football

Late Field Goal Lifts No. 4 Baker

Clarence Clark nailed home another game-winner for Baker, sending the 'Cats to the NAIA FCS Quarterfinals Clarence Clark nailed home another game-winner for Baker, sending the 'Cats to the NAIA FCS Quarterfinals

BALDWIN CITY, Kan. – Freshman Clarence Clark's 28-yard field-goal as time expired lifted No. 4-ranked Baker University to a thrilling 10-7 victory over No. 13 Sterling in the first round of the NAIA Football Championship Series on Saturday at chilly Liston Stadium.

It marked Baker's first playoff win in 20 years as the Wildcats improved to 11-1 with their ninth consecutive victory to set a school record for wins in a season.

Clark's game-winning kick capped a 10-play, 62-yard drive after the Wildcats gained possession on the BU 28-yard line with 2:02 remaining. The key play was junior running back Scott Meyer's 23-yard burst up the middle on third-and-10 from Sterling's 33-yard line. Meyer was tackled at the 10-yard line with three seconds left before Baker called timeout to set up Clark's kick.

Clark, named the game's offensive most valuable player, had missed field-goal attempts of 39, 44 and 31 yards before connecting on the game-winner. Entering the game, he ranked No. 1 in the NAIA in field goals with 1.5 per game and No. 2 in total field goals with 16.

Also a standout receiver, Clark caught three passes for 118 yards, including an 89-yard touchdown reception with 2:38 left in the first half. On first-and-10 from the BU 11-yard line, senior quarterback Jake Morse connected with a wide-open Clark down the left sideline before Clark pulled away from the Sterling defenders.

Morse completed 17 of 25 passes for 237 yards with the TD pass. Meyer had 21 carries for a game-high 97 yards. Camren Torneden finished with 20 carries and 75 yards.

Sterling senior defensive back Cedrique Smith intercepted two Morse passes and recorded 10 tackles to earn the game's defensive most valuable player honors. His interception at Sterling's nine-yard line with 10:59 left in the first half thwarted a Wildcat scoring threat deep in Warrior territory. Baker had gained possession at Sterling's seven-yard line after a Warrior fumble before turning the ball over three plays later.

Baker's defense dominated in the second half, shutting out the Warriors while allowing just 49 yards total offense on 32 plays for 1.5 yards per play. Sterling's lone score came on Antonio Bray's 68-yard run with 5:18 left in the first quarter.

Freshman defensive end Nick Becker recorded 10 tackles, including a sack, to anchor Baker's defense.

With the victory, the Wildcats advance to the NAIA Football Championship Series quarterfinals on Saturday, Nov. 30. Their opponent and site will be announced on Sunday.

Baker improved to 11-1 all-time against the Warriors in the first meeting between the two Kansas programs since 1970. Sterling, the champion of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, finished the season with a 9-3 record.

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