Football - Sat, Sep. 16, 2006
CHICAGO - A 43-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Mike Skvor with seven seconds remaining in regulation gave visiting Malone College (Ohio) a 24-21 upset win over No. 5 ranked Saint Xavier University (Ill.) in Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) crossover action Saturday at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago. The Cougars (2-1 overall, 1-0 MSFA) were driving late in the game, but threw an interception with 1:44 left on the clock to help the Pioneers set up a 53-yard game-winning scoring drive. SXU finished the game with five turnovers (three interceptions, two fumbles).
With sophomore quarterback Billy Yeo (Matteson, Ill./Western Michigan) sidelined Saturday due to a rib injury, Saint Xavier started sophomore quarterback Jeremy Zientek (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) to lead the offense. Zientek completed 24 of his 32 pass attempts for 214 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions. He also rushed four times for two yards and recorded a fumble. Sophomore running back Jason Banning (Wilmington, Ill./Northern Illinois) rushed for 35 yards on eight carries, while junior wide receiver Jim Doherty (Evergreen Park, Ill./Evergreen Park) caught four balls for 50 yards and a touchdown. Senior wideout Andy Ricca (LaPorte, Ind./Michigan City) was held to six catches for 35 yards.
Both offenses got off to a slow start in the first quarter with neither team able to score. Saint Xavier had a chance with 4:20 remaining in the first frame, but junior kicker Shane Longest (Wilmington, Ill./Wilmington) missed his first field goal of the season on a 29-yard attempt. The Pioneers took advantage of the miss and drove 80 yards down the field to score on a 43-yard touchdown pass by senior quarterback Brad Reifsnyder to sophomore wide receiver Derek Deardorff with 14:51 left in the first half. Following back-to-back turnovers by both offenses, SXU put together a successful scoring drive capped by a six-yard touchdown by Zientek to Doherty with 7:40 left in the second quarter.
A 25-yard field goal by Skvor on Malone's next possession gave the Pioneers back the lead, 10-7, with 2:58 remaining in the half. However, an interception by Zientek at the Malone 21 yard line kept the Cougars from scoring again before the break. Malone got a 36-yard field goal from Skvor on its first possession of the second half to build a 13-7 lead with 6:47 left in the third quarter. Saint Xavier answered on its ensuing drive marching 61 yards on 13 plays to take a 14-13 lead after sophomore center Kevin Zientek (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) recovered a one-yard fumble in the end zone and Longest converted the extra point.
The Cougars tacked on another touchdown on its first possession of the fourth quarter on a three-yard pass from Zientek to sophomore tight end Andy Lietz (Blue Island, Ill./Marian Catholic) to extend the lead to eight, 21-13. Unfortunately for SXU, penalties took a toll on the team late helping Malone garner good field position. The Pioneers took advantage of the short field and scored a game-tying touchdown on a two-play, 45-yard drive capped by a 16-yard touchdown pass from Reifsnyder to junior halfback Bernard Payton. With 1:44 left to play in regulation, Zientek's pass was batted into the hands of junior linebacker Justin Murphy at the Malone 12 yard line to end the Cougars chances of a game-winning score.
Saint Xavier (2-1 overall, 1-0 MSFA) continues its home stand on Saturday, September 23, with its annual homecoming game against MSFA rival University of St. Francis (Ill.) at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m.