Football - Sat, Oct. 7, 2006
Davenport, Iowa - Despite 15 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, the No. 7 ranked Saint Xavier University football team could not complete an impressive rally attempt falling 35-27 to No. 8 St. Ambrose University (Iowa) Saturday in Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Midwest League action at Brady Street Stadium in Davenport, Iowa. The Cougars (4-2 overall/3-1 MSFA) trailed 35-12 with 12 minutes remaining in the game before mounting two big scoring drives to pull within eight points in the closing minutes. SXU had a chance to tie things up late, but could not punch it into the endzone on a fourth-and-goal situation inside the five-yard line with 24 seconds remaining.

Sophomore quarterback Billy Yeo (Matteson, Ill./Western Michigan University) led the Saint Xavier offense Saturday finishing 28-for-47 for 358 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Yeo also rushed four times for 14 yards. Junior wide receiver Jim Doherty (Evergreen Park, Ill./Evergreen Park) led all the Cougar receivers with six catches for 112 yards, while senior wide out Andy Ricca (LaPorte, Ind./Michigan City) also posted six catches and tallied 52 yards through the air. Sophomore running back Jason Banning (Wilmington, Ill./Northern Illinois) had a solid all-around game finishing with 16 rushing yards and two touchdowns as well as six catches for 55 yards.

Banning got SXU on the scoreboard first on a one-yard touchdown run with 7:34 remaining in the first quarter, but the extra point was blocked by St. Ambrose, giving the visiting team a 6-0 advantage. The Fighting Bees marched down the field on its next possession and took a one-point lead, 7-6, on a six-yard rush by senior DeQuinn Ratford. Saint Xavier took back the lead, 9-7, less than a minute into the second quarter on a 42-yard field goal by junior kicker Shane Longest (Wilmington, Ill./Wilmington). However, SAU was able to punch in two more rushing touchdowns by senior Adam Norland (five-yard run) and junior Vernon Reed (two-yard run), respectively, later in the period to take a 21-9 lead. Longest cut the lead to nine, 21-12, on a 40-yard field goal with three seconds left in the first half.

St. Ambrose extended its lead in the second half scoring first on a 15-yard touchdown pass by junior Jim DuPage to senior Tim Turkowski with 6:25 remaining in the third quarter. A seven-yard rush by Reed put the Fighting Bees ahead, 35-12, with just over 12 minutes left in regulation. Banning was able to score his second one-yard touchdown run of the game on SXU's next drive to make the score, 35-19, following the extra point. The Saint Xavier defense forced a punt and gave the ball back to its offense with just over seven minutes to play. Using just 1:30 off the clock, the Cougars capped a seven-play drive with a six-yard touchdown pass from Yeo to senior wide receiver Greg Gerritsen (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East). The pair connected again for the two-point conversion and brought SXU to within eight, 35-27. Despite getting the ball back and marching down to the SAU three-yard line with under 30 seconds to play, SXU could not get the final score it needed for the rally.

Saint Xavier (4-2 overall/3-1 MSFA) returns home on Saturday, October 14, with a MSFA Midwest League match-up against William Penn University (Iowa) at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m.