Baldwin — Motivation shouldn't be a problem for Baker University's football team today.
Besides the incentive of improving on its undefeated conference record and keeping its No. 22 national ranking, Baker will be facing its biggest rival in William Jewell
Kickoff is 1:30 p.m. at Liston Stadium.
"It's going to be a typical Baker-William Jewell game," said Baker coach John Frangoulis, whose team improved to 3-1 on the season with a 35-13 win over Central Methodist last week. "It's been a great rivalry for the past 15 years."
As far as rivalries go, Baker-William Jewell has been fairly lopsided the last several years. The Wildcats have won the last three and five of the last six and lead the series with a 39-29-4 mark. Last season, Baker extended its string with a 30-21 come-from-behind victory.
"I'm sure it will be on their minds," Frangoulis said of last season's game. "But, if it were me, I'd be stressing the need to pick up a big conference win. When you come into a game facing a traditional rival, you really don't need much more motivation than that."
The Cardinals' 1-2 record could be a bit deceiving, considering that William Jewell's three regular-season games have all been against ranked opponents.
In its first game, William Jewell knocked off then No. 3-ranked Benedictine in Atchison. Last week, Jewell dropped a 24-18 decision to Missouri Valley, another ranked foe. The Cards' other loss was to No. 10 MidAmerica Nazarene.
William Jewell's primary weapons are junior running back Deeikee Williams and senior quarterback Travis Chambers. Williams, the conference's offensive player of the year last season, ranks third in the nation in rushing with a 168.3 yards per game average.
Chambers leads the conference in passing with 197.3 yards per game.
"In the past, they've tended to just hand the ball off to Deeikee," Frangoulis said, "but they have shown that they can put the ball in the air and beat you."
Baker currently ranks No. 3 nationally in total defense.
"We've done a really good job up front in controlling the line," Frangoulis said. "Plus, we've tackled a lot better than we have in past seasons. We've put out better athletes and we've had great performances from our defensive linemen."
Offensively, junior Levi Schuck will receive his second straight start at quarterback. Last week, Schuck rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. He also completed three of seven passes for 97 yards.
"I feel a lot better about our offense," Frangoulis said. "Inconsistency has been our biggest problem, and last week we didn't end up stopping ourselves."