Canton, Mo. -- Got offense?
Baker University's football team didn't have much Saturday afternoon against winless Culver-Stockton at Elliot Poulton Stadium.
However, despite only 198 yards total offense, BU forced seven turnovers and the defense scored a touchdown and a safety to help Baker defeat Culver-Stockton, 19-10, in a Heart of America Athletic Conference road contest.
"We didn't execute consistently today on offense," said Baker head coach John Frangoulis, whose team improved to 4-2 on the season and 4-1 in the HAAC. "They changed some of their defensive fronts, which made things harder on us. To tell you the truth, though, this was exactly the kind of game I expected going into things.
"I knew it would be hard fought, because their kids never give up."
Once again, Baker's defense turned in a dominating performance against a foe, as the No. 3-ranked unit in the nation stifled Culver-Stockton. For the game, Baker allowed only 143 yards of total offense and limited the opposing Wildcats to 38 rushing yards on 38 carries.
Additionally, four different Baker defenders snagged interceptions while Culver-Stockton lost three fumbles on defense and special teams.
The Baker defense even got into the scoring act as it provided the two scores that made the difference in the game. Minutes into the second quarter, Baker forced a safety following Marcel Matthews coffin corner punt that pinned Culver-Stockton at its six yard line. Quarterback Chad Boyer then fumbled the first-down snap backward and proceeded to knock the ball out of the back end zone to minimize the damage. The score gave Baker a 12-0 lead.
Later, Baker's defense came up with what might have been the most important score of the game with just over nine minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Following a missed 32-yard field goal attempt that would have extended BU's 12-10 lead, C-S took over on their own 20-yard line. There, BU defensive end Darren Hunt pounded quarterback Clint Grothaus, who coughed up the football in the backfield. Junior defensive lineman Tony Ward scooped up the pigskin and rumbled in from eight yards out for the touchdown. Brant Brittingham's extra point made the score 19-10.
"That was a big play," Frangoulis said. "I don't think you can say it ended things for them, but it certainly provided us with a little more of a cushion."
Baker's performance on defense helped make up for a lackluster performance by the Baker offense. BU was limited to 71 yards on 39 carries while quarterbacks Levi Schuck and David Ewers combined to complete 11 of 33 passes for 127 yards.
Possibly the busiest offensive player of the day was Matthews, who punted nine times -- including one boot that netted 60 yards.
"It's a situation where we just needed a change of pace," Frangoulis said of the team's switch from Schuck to Ewers midway through the third quarter. "David had some good weeks of practice over the past couple weeks, and both of those guys know that I won't hesitate to use either of them at any time."
Baker will return home to host Evangel at 1:30 p.m. next Saturday at Liston Stadium. The game marks the beginning of a four straight contests that Baker will play against an opponent currently ranked in the NAIA national poll.
Baker 19, Culver-Stockton 10
Baker 10 2 0 7 -- 19
Culver-Stockton 0 0 0 10 -- 10
BU -- Eric Sherpe 46 pass from Levi Schuck (Brant Brittingham kick).
BU -- Brittingham 26 field goal.
CS -- Clint Grothaus 2 run (Michael Curtis kick).
CS -- Curtis 38 field goal.
BU -- Tony Ward 8 fumble recovery (Brittingham kick).