Football - Fri, Nov. 9, 2007
CHICAGO - When the No. 6 ranked Saint Xavier University football team takes the field at 12 p.m. eastern time Saturday in Fort Wayne, Ind., against Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Mideast League foe No. 5 University of Saint Francis (Ind.), the team will likely have more than just revenge of last year's 49-20 playoff loss as motivation. The Cougars need a victory Saturday to ensure an opportunity at hosting at least a first-round playoff game in the 2007 NAIA Championship Series, which begins on Saturday, November 17. With 16 teams qualifying for the postseason at the NAIA level, SXU would need to stay ranked among the top eight teams to guarantee itself the ability to bid and host a first-round playoff game.
"I would think this game will be a lot like our Ohio Dominican game (SXU's only loss this season, 42-41, on Oct. 6) in that it will probably go down to the wire," said Saint Xavier University head football coach Mike Feminis. "They're a great team, but I think we're pretty darn good too, and we've been waiting for this one for a year. Plus, both teams have plenty at stake in terms of postseason seeding, so it should be a great game."
The big MSFA Mideast League match-up will feature two of the league's best on both sides of the ball. Saint Xavier brings the MSFA's second-best scoring defense (allowing 12.0 ppg) and third-best scoring offense (37.9 ppg), while USF has the second-best scoring offense (45.2 ppg) and the third-best scoring defense (14.4 ppg). The rushing match-up should also be intriguing with Saint Francis (Ind.) owning the second most potent rushing attack in the MSFA averaging 282.6 yards on the ground, while SXU boasts the top rushing defense allowing just 64.3 rushing yards a game.
With a win Saturday, Saint Xavier (9-1 overall/5-1 MSFA) also would have a chance to take a share of the 2007 MSFA Mideast League title, if No. 3 Ohio Dominican University falls to No. 23 Malone College (Ohio) Saturday as well. ODU currently sits at 10-0 overall and 6-0 in the MSFA, while both SXU and Saint Francis (Ind.) head into the regular season finale with 5-1 marks in the league standings.