Archive for Saturday, September 23, 2000

Wildcats hope to pass test

No. 23 Baker travels to Graceland today

September 23, 2000


— Baker University football coach John Frangoulis is hoping for dry skies tonight when the Wildcats tangle with Graceland.

It's more difficult to throw in the rain and Baker, for now anyway, has a pass-oriented offense.

"If the weather permits," Frangoulis said, "that's what we'll do because that's where our threats are."

Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. at Jenner Complex on the GU campus.

With running back Terence Spencer sidelined with an elbow injury, Baker quarterback Levi Schuck tossed four touchdown passes two each to Mackie Valentin and Todd Hitchcock in a 38-21 home win over Lindenwood last Saturday.

Spencer, who scored the Wildcats' only rushing TD of the season in the opener at Southwestern two weeks ago, will sit again this week. He is expected back for the homecoming game against Central Methodist on Sept. 30.

Howard Verdell gained 87 yards against Lindenwood, but 45 of those yards came as the Wildcats ran out the clock.

"I think the offensive line made the most improvement between the first and second games," Frangoulis said. "The problem is the backs haven't been hitting the holes."

Baker's defense, which had surrendered just 180 yards in the 21-3 win over Southwestern, was riddled for 439 passing yards by Lindenwood quarterback Mike Hofbauer, but Frangoulis isn't concerned.

"Our defense is designed to stop the run," the fifth-year BU coach said. "You have to be able to stop the run. Not many teams will be able to throw like Lindenwood did."

Graceland, 1-1, features a more balanced attack. Running back Bryan George is averaging 140.5 yards a game and ranks No. 8 in NAIA rushing stats.

Baker climbed into the NAIA poll for the first time this season, reaching No. 23 this week.

"Obviously, it feels good," Frangoulis said. "I thought it should have come a week earlier after we beat Southwestern, but I'm a coach, not a politician."

Southwestern was ranked No. 14 in the preseason, then dropped to No. 23 after losing to Baker.

Last year, Baker squeezed Graceland, 16-14, to snap a three-year losing streak to the Yellowjackets.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.