SPRINGFIELD, MO. Baker University's football team kept its midseason comeback alive with its fourth straight win conference win.
The Wildcats topped Evangel, 23-17, Thursday night at Plaster Field.
Baker (4-2 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference, 4-3 overall) was sparked by the intensive play of its defense that grabbed three interceptions and a safety against the Crusaders.
"We've won our last four now and this is a really big win for us," Baker coach John Frangoulis said. "It's hard to play here in Springfield and it's especially hard to play on turf for the first time."
Senior defensive back Eric Davidson might have made the biggest interception of all. Davidson returned his interception with 7:40 left in the second quarter 27 yards to break a 17-17 tie and put the Wildcats up 23-17.
Baker's Chuck Osborn and Jason Montgomery picked off Evangel quarterback Brandon Kelley in the second half. Montgomery's interception stopped a Crusader drive at the Baker 30 yard line with only four minutes remaining.
Kelley gave the Wildcats ample opportunities to pick off the Crusader quarterback. Kelley threw the ball 40 times and connected on 20 passes for 243 yards.
The main target of Kelley's throws was flanker Jason Myers. Myers caught 13 passes for 121 yards.
Still, the duo of Kelley and Myers couldn't figure a way to get past the Wildcats' defense in the second half.
For the second week in a row, Baker's rushing offense and Eric Long have come up big. Long, the senior fullback, rushed for 115 yards on 16 carries and scored on runs of 2 and 3 yards.
"Eric has a lot of confidence out there and had a good game for us," Frangoulis said. "He gave a lot of second and third efforts out there tonight, and our offensive line did a good job of opening up holes."
Baker will have a little over a week to prepare before it faces undefeated Benedictine on Oct. 31 in Baldwin at Liston Stadium.