Football - Sun, Nov. 26, 2006
Olathe, Kan. - Although it came to no surprise to anyone who has followed the 2006 NAIA Championship Series, on Sunday it was made official by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Saint Xavier University, the No. 9 ranked team in the nation, will travel to Fort Wayne, Ind., on Saturday, December 2, to face No. 1 ranked University of Saint Francis (Ind.) in NAIA semi-finals football action. The game will start at 12 p.m. eastern time at Bishop D'Arcy Stadium in Fort Wayne.
Saint Xavier is making its first-ever appearance in the semi-finals since the program began in 1993. Saint Francis has been to the championship game of the NAIA Championship Series each of the last two seasons, but was denied a national title both years by Carroll College (Mont.), who SXU eliminated Saturday, 14-7, in Helena, Mont. USF will bring a perfect 12-0 record into next weekend's game, while SXU carries a 10-2 mark. Both teams use the Cougars as their team mascot.
"There is a reason why Saint Francis is the No. 1 ranked team in the NAIA, because they are very, very good," said Saint Xavier head football coach Mike Feminis. "That being said, our team is playing with a ton of confidence right now having knocked out the last six NAIA national champions in back-to-back weeks (Georgetown won the title in 2000 and 2001, while Carroll won from 2002-05). We played them tough in our first postseason appearance back in 2002 and I expect this game to be another hard-fought battle."
Saint Xavier (10-2 overall) lost the 2002 first round meeting with Saint Francis (Ind.), 34-30, in Fort Wayne. This is SXU's third trip to the postseason with appearances in 2002, 2005, and 2006. However, this season marks the first time the Cougars have advanced past the first round.