MOUNT PLEASANT, IOWA — Five Baker turnovers and another prolific passing performance by quarterback Dustin Dewald carried Iowa Wesleyan to a 42-14 football victory over the Wildcats on Saturday afternoon.
Dewald, who set NAIA records by completing 61 of 86 passes last week, connected on 37 of 50 aerials for 344 yards and five touchdowns against Baker.
"He is a very football-smart quarterback and he proved it today," Baker coach Dan Harris said. "We tried to disguise our coverages, and every time we made a mistake he was able to complete the pass and capitalize on it."
The Wildcats were forced to punt on their first possession. The Tigers then drove 68 yards on 11 plays to give them a 7-0 lead at 9:32 in the first quarter.
Baker quarterback Aaron Todd was intercepted on the opening play of the Wildcats' next possession, giving the ball back to the Tigers.
THE TIGERS failed to take advantage of that turnover, but the 'Cats quickly coughed up the ball again, this time on a Rob Conner fumble. Ten plays later Dewald hit Richard Morrow for the score, extending the Tiger lead to 14-0.
"The thing that killed us in the first half was the fact we came into this game with the game plan of ball control to keep the ball out of Iowa Wesleyan's hands," Harris said. "And in that first half we had to punt four times, we had four turnovers, three fumbles and an interception. And we didn't capitalize on their mistakes."
Baker scored on a two-yard scamper by Conner with 40 seconds left before the intermission to make the score 28-6. Conner was Baker's leading rusher, gaining 90 yards on 15 carries.
"We just didn't respond after being down at halftime. We looked tired and we just never got in the game," Harris said. "Our kids just aren't used to being down by three touchdowns at the half."
BAKER TOTALLED 262 yards of offense, 181 on the ground.
"I really thought our first-year quarterbacks did a very poor job making adjustments and controlling the game like we should have," Harris said.
Todd was removed midway through the second quarter after going 0-for-2 with an interception. Back-up David Gronek didn't fare much better. He was 4-of-14 for 49 yards and an interception.
In the fourth quarter, Gronek gave way to Hector Ayala, a 5-10 freshman. Ayala directed Baker to its second TD. He hit receiver Rob Hedrick with a three-yard toss.
Ayala finished with 33 yards passing, completing three of six.
"The hardest thing we've got to overcome now is bouncing back mentally," Harris said. "We've got a good football team, I know that, but I'm not too sure very many of our players know that right now. We've got to be able to forget this and think about the conference games coming up now."
Baker, now 1-1-1, returns to Iowa next weekend to open Heart of American Conference play against Graceland.
FJ Iowa Wesleyan
IW Sean Morris 1 run (Steve Leonard kick).
IW Richard Morrow 16 pass from Dustin Dewald (Leonard kick).
IW Dana Holgorsen 22 pass from Dewald (kick fail).
IW Edward Thompson 35 pass from Dewald (Bruce Carter pass from Dewald).
BU Rob Conner 2 run (kick blocked).
IW Thompson 30 pass from Dewald (Leonard kick).
IW Carter 13 pass from Dewald (Leonard kick).
BU Rob Hedrick 3 pass from Hector Ayala (Paul Hummel pass from Ayala).