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Archive for Sunday, October 16, 2005

MANU escapes in OT

Interception ends Wildcats’ hopes

October 16, 2005

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— Baker University's football squad was five yards away from being a giant-killer for the second straight week.

But Kendall Bradley's pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown in overtime, and No. 6-ranked MidAmerica Nazarene escaped with a 32-20 victory Saturday night at Liston Stadium.

"I know it's not my fault, but it feels like it," Bradley said. "That last play - it was a good ball, good route, he just made a break on it."

Bradley hardly was the goat, though. He engineered a 65-yard, fourth-quarter TD drive that sent the game to overtime.

"In the fourth, when we're down, he put together the drive and made some great throws - second and third reads in our progression, and he was finding them," Baker coach Mike Grossner said. "But that's the nature of the beast, playing quarterback. You're either the hero or the goat, and right now I'm sure he feels as bad as anybody."

Baker's special teams showed signs of inconsistency, allowing a 90-yard touchdown on the opening kickoff. But when MidAmerica tied the game at 13 late in the fourth quarter, Baker blocked the PAT.

In overtime, the special teams blocked another PAT after the Pioneers scored a 25-yard passing touchdown on their first play.

"I felt lucky to be in overtime the way that the end of the fourth quarter went," Grossner said. "And then, when you get into overtime, you couldn't ask for any more. They score, but we block the extra point, and all we've got to do is put seven on the board and walk away with a win - and we're on the five-yard line."

Besides the fourth-quarter collapse, the Wildcat defense kept the Pioneers out of the end zone for the first three quarters despite allowing MANU 410 yards.

"I thought our defense played outstanding. We had a goal to keep them out of our end zone," Grossner said. "And I thought field position was great all night, and that made them drive the ball a long way and then eventually try some field goals."

Many Wildcat fans began celebrating with short-lived jubilation following the blocked PAT in overtime, but Baker couldn't deliver a victory.

"We deserved to win this football game," Grossner said. "Last week, we won a big one at Missouri Valley, and now we know we can play with anybody."

Baker will travel Saturday to Kansas City, Mo., to play Avila - a squad that concerns Grossner.

"We've got to get this team mentally ready to play," Grossner said. "We're playing Avila University that has a lot of former Baker University coaches there. And they're going to have their team sky-high."

"And we've got to get back mentally and not let MidAmerica beat us twice."

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