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11.30.13 | M Football

Morningside Outlasts No. 4 BU, 36-28

Jake Morse threw for 417 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday against No. 5 Morningside Jake Morse threw for 417 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday against No. 5 Morningside

BALDWIN CITY, Kan. – Junior quarterback Ryan Kasdorf threw for 222 yards and five touchdown passes to lift No. 5 Morningside to a 36-28 victory over No. 4 Baker University in the quarterfinals of the NAIA Football Championship Series on Saturday at Liston Stadium.

Kasdorf, named the offensive player of the game, completed 14 of 21 passes and rushed 14 times for 99 yards before being injured on the Mustangs' final drive with two minutes left. The Mustangs, ranked No. 1 in the NAIA averaging 50.5 points per game, compiled 493 yards total offense to advance to the semifinals with an 11-1 record. Morningside finished runner-up in the NAIA championship a year ago.

Kasdorf's primary target was senior wide receiver Joel McCabe, who hauled in six passes for 119 yards and three touchdowns — all in the first half — to help the Mustangs build a 28-21 lead heading into the halftime break. McCabe had TD receptions of 3, 66 and 13 yards.

Baker, playing in the NAIA quarterfinals for the first time in 20 years, was led by senior quarterback Jake Morse, who completed 34 of 44 passes for 417 yards and three touchdowns.

Morse connected with senior Tyler Hatcher on a 12-yard TD pass with 2:10 left in the fourth quarter — Baker's lone score in the second half — to pull the Wildcats within 34-28. After their six-play drive stalled at midfield with 28 seconds left, the Mustangs quick kicked and pinned Baker at its two-yard line. On the first play, Morningside swarmed Morse for a sack in the end zone for a safety to secure the victory with 19 seconds left.

Baker's lone lead came on its first possession when senior Dillon Baxter capped a 10-play, 81-yard drive with a 25-yard touchdown reception. On the ensuing drive, Morningside went three-and-out but capitalized on a fumbled punt recovered at Baker's 19. Four plays later, Kasdorf found McCabe for his first TD pass.

Baker freshman Clarence Clark finished with nine receptions and a game-high 147 yards and a 42-yard touchdown reception. His TD catch with 13:29 left in the first half evened the game at 14-all. With 4:02 remaining in the third quarter and Baker trailing 28-21, Clark nearly had a second TD reception, breaking free for a long gain before a Morningside defender jarred the ball loose near the goal line and into the end zone for a touchback.

Sophomore linebacker Tucker Pauley led the Baker defense with 11 tackles and an interception to earn defensive player of the game honors.

The Wildcats finished the season with an 11-2 record. The 11 victories are a school record in the 106-year history of Baker's program.

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