Football - Sat, Sep. 9, 2006
CHICAGO - Although it is only week two in the schedule for the No. 8 ranked Saint Xavier University football team, the biggest game of its 2006 season could take place this weekend. On Saturday, the Cougars travel to Lebanon, Ill., to face Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Midwest League rival and No. 5 ranked McKendree College (Ill.) in a showdown that not only has implications in the league standings but in the national rankings as well.
"I call McKendree the Buckle it up' week," said SXU head football coach Mike Feminis. "I'm anticipating this will be the usual 15-round heavyweight fight and it will probably go down to the wire. The only difference is that it's happening so early in the season. Obviously, with both of us ranked in the top eight, it also adds a little more significance at the national level."
McKendree has yet to play a game this season, while Saint Xavier opened up last Saturday with a 48-0 win over No. 30 ranked Lambuth University (Tenn.) at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago. In the previous two meetings of the two schools, both games were decided by a touchdown with the Bearcats winning the 2005 game, 21-14, and the Cougars taking the 2004 match-up, 14-7.
Last season, both teams shared the MSFA Midwest League title with a 6-1 league mark and advanced to the NAIA Championship Series. SXU was eliminated, 31-28, by No. 4 University of Sioux Falls (S.D.) in the first round on a last-second field goal, while McKendree also suffered a three-point defeat in first-round action falling to No. 10 Evangel College (Mo.), 34-31.