Monday, December 12, 2016

Number 2 Baker, Number 4 St. Francis to Meet in NAIA-FCS Championship Game

Press release submitted by Tyler Price, Baker University Assistant Athletic Director

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida – The number 2 ranked Baker University football team is set to clash with number 4 University of St. Francis (Ind.) on Saturday, December 17 at 5 p.m. CST in the 2016 NAIA-Football Championship Series (FCS) National Championship, presented by Waste Pro, inside Municipal Stadium.

The game will be broadcast live at 5 p.m. CST worldwide on ESPN 3.

This marks the second appearance in the NAIA Championship game for the Wildcat football program, the previous came in 1986.

The Wildcats took on Linfield (Ore.) in 1986 for the national title in McMinnville, Ore., and fell to the Linfield Wildcats, 17-0.

The Cougars will compete in its fourth NAIA title game on December 17, the previous three came in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Both teams are in search of its first national championships in program history.

In fact, a win would give Baker its first-ever team NAIA National Championship in Baker Athletics history.

Baker enters the game with a perfect 14-0 record, while the Cougars are 12-1 with their only loss coming on Oct. 1, 35-21, at home against number 1 Marian (Ind.)

BU head coach Mike Grossner is in his 13th season leading the Wildcats and is number 2 in Baker history in wins with his 98-49 record.

The only other time, these two teams met on the gridiron came on November 17, 2012 in the First Round of the NAIA-FCS in Fort Wayne, Indiana, as the Cougars won on its home field, 22-17.

USF's head coach Kevin Donley is the NAIA's winningest coach in history with 301 career victories and captured a NAIA National Championship as the head coach at Georgetown (Ky.) in 1991. He is 0-3 all-time in NAIA National title games while at USF.

The match up will feature two of the best quarterbacks in the NAIA, as the Wildcats have school record breaking, 2016 CoSIDA College Division Football Academic All-American of the Year, Logan Brettell.

The junior has thrown for a school record 4,810 yards and 51 TD's. He has also thrown a school record 372 completions for a completion percentage of 69.9.

He has been dangerous with his feet as well, running for 282 yards and six touchdowns. He is coming off of a six TD, 406 yard passing performance over number 9 Eastern Oregon in the 45-41 win over the Mountaineers in the NAIA-FCS semifinals last Saturday.

At his disposal, Brettell has five receivers with 50 or more receptions and 650 or more receiving yards.

Clarence Clark and Quanzee Johnson each have surpassed 1,000 yards receiving this season, as Johnson leads the squad with 1,062 and 14 TD's while Clark has 1,040 yards and 69 catches.

Clark is the schools all-time leader in receptions with 181, receiving yards with 3,024 and receiving TD's with 34.

His 1,113 yards receiving and 16 receiving TD's in 2015, are also Baker single season records. His 77-yard TD catch from Brettell with 38 seconds remaining in the game, led Baker past Eastern Oregon last week in one of the greatest games in BU history. 

Cornell Brown leads the Wildcats in many offensive categories this season, as the junior is Baker's leading rusher with 1,315 yards and a school-record 23 rushing TD's and he leads the team in receptions with 82. In all he has 30 TD's on the season with seven receiving TD's.

Baker ranks number 1 in the NAIA in total passing offense with 5,169 and is the number 2 ranked team in total scoring with 698 points, averaging 49.9 points per game.

The Cougars feature quarterback Nick Ferrer. The junior from Westfield, Indiana ranks number 3 in the country in passing yards with 3,801 and has thrown for 48 TD's. He is 249-of-404 with nine interceptions and a 61.6-completion percentage.

His top target all season has been Seth Coate. The senior has 74 catches for 1,513 yards and 22 TD's. He ranks number 2 in the NAIA in receiving yards and number 6 in receptions.

The Baker defense features a squad that has picked off 31 passes, forced 10 fumbles, blocked five kicks and collected two safeties.

2016 First Team All-Conference safety Darrain Winston leads the NAIA in interceptions with 10 and Kissimmee, Florida native, Akim Francis leads the team in tackles with 107.

Fellow linebacker Kharon Brown is near the 100-tackle plateau as well, with 95. Senior Nick Becker leads the squad in tackles for loss with 20 and two-time Heart South Co-Defensive Player of the Year Josh Kock leads the team in sacks with 11.5.

13 different Wildcats have picked off a pass including, Winston, Francis, Brown, Becker,  Mikeice Adams, Nate McLaurin, Avery Parker, Nick Shondell, Grant Elston, Kegan Schuman, Justin Rieschick, Clay Drouillard and D'Monique Zachery.

The Wildcat defense has held its opponents to 27 points or less in 11 of its 14 games this season.

The USF defense ranks number 3 in the country in sacks with 40 and number 4 in rushing defense, as they allow just 106.3 yards on the ground per game.

The Cougars give up 18.5 points per game, which ranks sixth nationally and Eric Hemmelgarn ranks number 2 in the NAIA in tackles for loss with 24.

The only opponent that both teams competed against this season is Missouri Valley, Baker defeated the Vikings, 31-28, inside Liston Stadium on November 5, while USF defeated Mo Valley, 79-20, in the First Round of the NAIA-FCS on November 19.

You may listen to Baker's broadcast with by play-by-play broadcaster and Baker Hall of Famer Tom Hedrick and Color analyst Jim Joyner, on KNBU-FM (89.7).

For a statistical break down of the game:
 Saint Francis (Ind.) vs. Baker (Kan.)
NAIA Football
12/17/2016 6:00 PM (EST)
All Times Local
Team Matchup

Record 12 - 1 14 - 0
Scoring 563 694
Total Offense 6089 7646
Total Plays 877 1078
Yards Per Play 6.900 7.100
Yards Per Game 468.400 546.100
Touchdowns 79 95
Rushing 28 35
Passing 49 54
Other 2 6
1st Downs 290 368
Rushing Yards 2117 2477
Attempts 443 502
Yards Per Rush 4.800 4.900
Yards Per Game 162.800 176.900
Passing Yards 3972 5169
Att-Comp-Int 434 - 265 - 11 576 - 401 - 14
Yards Per Attempt 9.200 9.000
Yards Per Game 305.500 369.200
Punting Yds 1938 2243
Punts 50 64
Yards Per Punt 38.800 35.000
Punt Ret Yds 396 609
Returns - Average 40 - 9.900 50 - 12.200
Kickoff Return Yds 1008 985
Returns - Average 44 - 22.900 52 - 18.900
Interception Ret Yds 160 385
Returns - Average 17 - 9.400 31 - 12.400
Penalties / Yards 96 - 902 109 - 1092
Penalties Per Game 7.400 7.800
Penalties Yards Per Game 69.400 78.000
Fumbles / Lost 25 - 13 8 - 7
3rd-Down Convs 76 - 163 83 - 201
Percentage 46.600 41.300
4th-Down Convs 11 - 19 12 - 24
Percentage 57.900 50.000

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