Archive for Monday, October 17, 1994

THORNTON PROVIDES BIG PLAY FOR BAKER

October 17, 1994

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— Baker's "Big Man" has come up with big plays in the past two years, but they finally counted Saturday night.

Diminutive receiver Joel Thornton caught two touchdown passes in the Wildcats' 49-26 victory over Culver-Stockton at Liston Stadium.

"That's the biggest game he's had with us since he's been here," BU coach Charlie Richard said. "He's had some big plays, but most have them have been called back."

Thornton is the Wildcats' punt and kick returner and has had many big returns nullified because of penalties.

"I think I've had three touchdowns and three other big returns called back," Thornton said. "I looked back on both of those touchdowns to see if the yellow flag was down. Every time I touch ball, there's like a law that says when Joel touches ball, this play can not proceed. I don't understand why it happens."

But Saturday, Thornton caught a 62-yard touchdown pass on the third play of the game and also caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Shawn Tarango. Thornton had four receptions for 136 yards.

"It was scary for me. I looked back and there was no flag," Thornton said. "Every big play I've been involved in since I've been here has been call. I went back to the sideline, and thought 'Wow, that counted'."

Thornton, who stands 5-foot-4 and weighs 140 pounds, was dubbed "Big Man" by linebacker Josh Saunders.

"I always get a lot of stuff from the team and coach, like 'If you were only if you were six inches taller, you could have scored on that'," Thornton said. "But there's nothing I can do about it. I'm too old to worry about getting any taller."

Thornton is the Wildcats' deep threat because of his speed. But Thornton says there are more factors than just his quickness that help the San Diego, Calif. native.

"Believe it or not, it's not speed, but intelligence that's most important," Thornton said. "I've always been short and always been quick. But I don't see speed being the neutralizer. Intelligence is and knowing what's going to happen on the field is most important."

Thornton, who transferred from Southwestern Junior College in Chula Vista, Calif., two years ago, has nine receptions for 290 yards and has added eight carries for 59 yards on reverses this year.

"I'd rather be wide receiver than a running back," Thornton said. "It's me against someone else, one-on-one. (Tailback) Jason White has the blue-collar job. I have a cushy, white-collar job. Last year, we had a lot of big play guys. This year, I'm starting to get my chance."

Baker's next outing is against Evangel at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Springfield, Mo.

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