BALDWIN CITY — Field goals are nice, but touchdowns are a lot better.
Baker University offset Ottawa University’s four made field goals with four touchdowns and rallied for a 25-24 win over Braves Saturday at Liston Stadium.
It came down to two missed kicks in the final seconds. Ottawa junior Jeff Stamp, who earlier connected on field goals of 37, 40, 46 and 32 yards, had two chances to win the game for the Braves with nine seconds left. He lined up for a 42-yard kick, but Baker was flagged for offsides.
Stamp then attempted a 37-yard kick, but it missed. Baker was flagged for roughing the kicker and gave him another chance.
He lined up for a 27-yard kick and missed it.
“We had couple of opportunities at the end,” Ottawa coach Kent Kessinger said. “Jeff Stamp is feeling low. If we don’t have him hitting those field goals we are not in this game. We are not scoring touchdowns. He did a tremendous job.
“Offensively, we needed to finish with touchdowns and not field goals.”
Baker scored the winning touchdown on a scramble play. Ottawa was about to sack Baker quarterback Jake Morse, but he found Dillon Baxter on a dump off pass. He scampered 18 yards for the score to give Baker the 25-24 lead with 54 seconds left.
“Our defense did a really good job against their scheme,” Kessinger said. “Where we broke down defensively was on the scrambles. The last play where Dillon Baxter ... they dumped it off to him ... and he made a really nice run. We did a good job of bottling them up beforehand.”
Ottawa led 24-19 and a tried to salt the game away. Ottawa had the ball at its 20 with 4:38 remaining.
The Braves lost nine yards on two plays and had a incompleted pass on third down.
“We were going into our four-minute offense,” Kessinger said. “We worked on it in practice a couple of times. If we get a couple of first downs there, we have the game in hand.”
Ottawa led 9-7 at halftime on the strength of Stamp’s three field goals. Baker scored its touchdown on the first series of the game. Ottawa shut them down after that.
“The thing we did, we ran our offense well,” Kessinger said after the Braves picked up 373 yards of offense. “We ran our defensive scheme really well. You look to see what kind of plays you can make. That was the big question mark because of the inexperience we had. I am so proud of the guys the way they fought.
“We talked all week about playing fast both on the offense and defensive side of ball ... being physical, hitting hard and finishing off games. We played for 60 minutes. We did not get the ultimate finish.”
Ottawa received a big jolt in the special teams as Josh Stangby returned the second half kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. Ottawa missed the extra point and led 15-7.
Stangby made another big play. He caught a 44-yard touchdown pass from Michael Behr to give Ottawa a 21-7 lead with 9:47 left in the third.
Baker then scored touchdowns on back-to-back possessions to pull within 21-19.
“We now know what to work on,” Kessinger said. “The kids have good fire in the belly. This bodes well for us in the conference race.”
Ottawa (0-1) plays 6 p.m. Saturday at Peoples Bank Field against No. 2 Missouri Valley in a rematch of last year’s first-round playoff game. The Vikings won the game 56-21.