Olathe It wasn't supposed to be like this for Baker University on Saturday.
Coming off a tough loss to Heart of America Athletic Conference football leader Benedictine last week, the Wildcats were looking for a victory over MidAmerica Nazarene University to continue their trek toward an NAIA playoff berth.
Unfortunately for Baker, the Pioneers also came to play and crushed the Wildcats, 28-2.
"We just got our butts kicked in every aspect of the game," Baker coach John Frangoulis said. "We've been beat before, but we're not used to getting manhandled like this. That hasn't happened probably in three years. Everybody who made this trip stunk it up, starting with me and all the way down to the trainers."
Frangoulis wouldn't blame his team's performance on an emotional letdown after last week's 13-10 loss to Benedictine in which they relinquished a 10-0 lead with nine minutes left.
"That's an excuse and I'm not going to make an excuse," he said. "Obviously we didn't coach them this week and we got our butts kicked. They were ready to play and we got beat by a better team."
Baker (7-2 overall, 6-2 conference) was outgained by 213 total yards, 290 to 77, and averaged barely over 1.3 yards per play.
Terrance Spencer ran 17 times for 43 yards, the only Wildcat with positive rushing yards. MANU gained 144 yards on the ground, led by Greg Simpson's 70 yards on 25 carries.
"We got beat up front and that's where the ball game starts and they took it to us," Frangoulis said.
The Wildcats had a poor day throwing as well. Levi Schuck was 5-of-26 passing for 63 yards with an interception. Backup David Ewers, who played in the second half, was 0-of-4 with an interception.
"Levi wasn't on and David's very capable, that's why he's here," Frangoulis said. "He went in and executed some good things. He was a captain for us last year and the kids have tremendous respect for him."
Quarterback Jeremy Males, the HAAC's leading offensive player, finished 16-of-27 for 146 yards and four touchdowns for the Pioneers, completing passes to nine different receivers. He also carried the ball 14 times for 32 yards.
The Wildcats' two points came when Pioneers' punter Michael Tiffany ran out of the back of the end zone early in the third quarter.
Baker blocked Tiffany's first punt, setting up a scoring opportunity.
Baker couldn't take advantage, though, as the Pioneers returned the special teams' favor, blocking Ryan Stewart's 26-yard field goal attempt.
The Wildcats were in MANU territory only three more times. The first resulted in a Stewart field goal that sailed wide left, the second ended with an Ewers interception and the third was late in the fourth quarter.
A win Saturday over the Pioneers (9-1, 7-1) would have put Baker in second place in the HAAC and in good position for an NAIA playoff berth. With the victory, MANU is alone in second place in the HAAC, a game behind unbeaten Benedictine (9-0, 8-0).
"The kids knew the situation coming in and obviously we didn't take care of business," said Frangoulis, whose squad had won four in a row before losing last week, "but that doesn't mean we haven't done some good things this year because we have. We need to come back and finish this thing on the right note."
The Wildcats will play host to Missouri Valley in the season finale at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Liston Stadium in Baldwin.
"They've beaten us the last couple of years," Frangoulis said, "so we'd like to win and end at 8-2 which we haven't done for quite awhile and see what happens after that."
MidAmerica Nazarene 28, Baker 2
Baker 0 0 2 0 2
MidAmerica Nazarene 7 14 7 0 28
MANU Marcus Child 1 pass from Jeremy Males (Jake Houchin kick).
MANU Kenny Junious 2 pass from Males (Houchin kick).
MANU Junious 11 pass from Males (Houchin kick).
BU Safety, Michael Tiffany runs out of end zone.
MANU Brandon Earls 39 pass from Males (Houchin kick).