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11.20.13 | M Football

Baker, Sterling to Clash in NAIA FCS

Baker will make its 13th appearance in the NAIA Playoffs on Saturday Baker will make its 13th appearance in the NAIA Playoffs on Saturday

GAME NOTES (PDF)

BALDWIN CITY, Kan. – The No. 4 ranked Baker University football team will make its 13th playoff appearance when they face No. 13 ranked Sterling (Kan.) this Saturday Nov. 23 at 1 p.m. in the first round of the NAIA Football Championship series.

The Wildcats are 10-1 all-time against the Warriors.

Saturday marks the first time these two schools have faced off since Sterling defeated Baker, 14-0, back in 1970 and the Wildcats won the previous 10 match ups. The series between the two went from 1960-1970 and will reconnect here on Saturday.

This is the first time the Wildcats have earned back-to-back playoff appearances since the 1992-93 teams, and first team with 10 regular season wins since the 1983 team. The 10 wins also mark the most victories head coach Mike Grossner has had in his 10 years as head coach. His previous record of eight wins came in 2012 and 2008, Baker appeared in the playoffs in those two seasons as well.

The No. 4 national ranking is the highest ever in head coach Mike Grossner's tenure with the Wildcats and this marks the first home playoff game at Liston Stadium since 1993. Back in 1993, Baker hosted Hastings College in the first round and defeated the Broncos, 39-19, then they hosted a second round playoff game against Doane and took down the Tigers, 28-21.

Baker comes into Saturday ranked 13th in the nation in total rushing offense headlined by running back Dillon Baxter. Baxter leads the team with 1,196 total yards and six touchdowns. Baxter's best performance came just one week ago against Peru State with 219 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries.

Camren Torneden has also made a presence for the Wildcats accumulating 782 total yards and eight touchdowns. Jake Morse provides the Wildcat offense with stability at the quarterback spot, as he will make his 39th career start for the Wildcats.

The senior has been a nightmare for opposing defenses posting a 59 percent completion percentage and has accumulated 2,071 yards with 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Wide receivers Tyler Hatcher and Clarence Clark have combined for a total of 1,034 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. Clark is also ranked No. 1 in the NAIA in field goals with 1.5 per game and ranks No. 2 in Division I in total field goals with 16.

The Wildcat defense ranks No. 8 in scoring defense per game allowing 18.5 points. Linebackers Darrick Smith and Emmerson Clarke have a combined total of 13 interceptions. Smtih has seven total, while Clarke has six and each has returned an interception for a touchdown. The defense also ranks No. 5 in the nation in turnover margin at plus 15.

The Warriors offense is ranked in the top-15 in five different categories. Sterling is ranked No. 10 in scoring offense per game with 37.7 points and ranks No. 11 in total rushing offense with 2,472 yards, and 224.7 rushing yards per game.

Dual-threat quarterback Reggie Langford anchors the offense accumulating 1,424 yards with 19 touchdowns and six interceptions through the air. Langford has also gained 1,306 yards and nine touchdowns on 252 carries. His best performance came against McPherson (Kan.) when he totaled 435 yards and five touchdowns through the air. Running back Antonio Bray has totaled 925 yards and 11 touchdowns on 117 carries.

The Warriors defense is ranked No. 1 in the nation in turnover margin at plus 26 and is No. 33 allowing 25.3 points per game. Freshman Derek Lee leads the team with four interceptions including one for a touchdown.

Tickets for the game are as follows, $10 for adults, $5 for students with ID, Military with ID and senior citizens (62 and Over) and $3 children 5 & Under. All those with an NAIA Pass will be admitted for free.

Ticket pre sale/pickup will take place at the Baker University Harter Union this Friday from 11-1pm. After a generous gift from anonymous donors, ALL Baker students will receive a complimentary ticket to the football and soccer games. The complimentary ticket MUST be picked up at the Union this Friday between 11-1pm. Students are required to present a valid student ID to receive their ticket.

The game will also be featured online with free live video and live stats. Fans, just visit www.bakerwildcats.com, click on Multimedia at the top of the website, then select Live Stats or Live Video and enjoy. The game will be called by Baker Hall of Fame member Tom Hedrick, with color analyst Sean Webb.

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