Football - Sat, Oct. 15, 2005
Bourbonnais, Ill. - Three second-half interceptions by Olivet Nazarene University senior safety Joey Lochner kept No. 5 ranked Saint Xavier University from completely erasing a 31-14 halftime deficit as SXU fell 34-28 in Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Midwest League football action on a clear Saturday night at Ward Field in Bourbonnais, Ill. The Cougars drop to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the MSFA with the loss, while the Tigers improve to 4-3 overall and 2-1 in league play.

SXU senior quarterback John Perryman (Oak Lawn, Ill./Richards) completed 25 of his 39 pass attempts for 429 yards and three touchdowns, but had four costly interceptions in the second half. Junior wide receiver Andy Ricca (LaPorte, Ind./Michigan City) played well for the Cougars finishing with 143 yards threw the air on seven catches, while senior wideout Jarrod Nowman (Manteno, Ill./Bishop McNamara) also had eight grabs for 93 yards. Sophomore wide receiver Jim Doherty (Evergreen Park, Ill./Evergreen Park) finished with six receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown for the Cougars.

After forcing Saint Xavier into a three-and-out on the game's opening possession, Olivet marched down the field on its first drive and took an early 7-0 lead on a one-yard run by junior running back Billy Lawrence. After forcing another Cougar punt, the Tigers were able to get into range for sophomore kicker Matt Soulia and converted a 42-yard field goal to take a 10-0 lead with 3:49 remaining in the first quarter.

However, SXU answered with a quick drive on the ensuing possession highlighted by a 52-yard reception by Ricca to the Olivet 22-yard line. Perryman then capped the drive on a 22-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wideout Matt Detloff (Hammond, Ind./Clark) to put Saint Xavier within three, 10-7, with 2:47 still to play in the quarter. Unfortunately for the Cougars, the Tigers continued to pour on the first-quarter offense going up 17-7 on a five-yard rush by Lawrence, his second score of the quarter.

With 12:07 left in the second quarter, Perryman capped a big drive on SXU's next possession with a one-yard quarterback sneak to pull back within three, 17-14. However, the Cougar defense continued to struggle against the Tigers' offensive onslaught and ONU picked up another touchdown midway through the second quarter on an 11-yard completion by senior quarterback Joe Boseo to senior wideout Drew Bufford. A fumble by Perryman with just under four minutes to play in the first half negated a 33-yard punt return by Nowman and Olivet capitalized by marching 69 yards down the field to score on a four-yard rush by Boseo with 10 seconds left to give ONU a 31-14 halftime advantage.

Olivet got a 20-yard field goal by Soulia on the first possession of the second half extending the lead to 20 points, 34-14, with just over nine minutes to play in the third quarter. Saint Xavier had its first two drives of the third quarter stifled by interceptions from Lochner deep in Olivet territory, including a pick in the endzone. A nine-yard touchdown reception by Doherty with 10:51 to play in the fourth quarter cut Olivet's lead to 13, 34-21. The Cougars continued to rally with a 43-yard touchdown pass by Perryman to freshman running back Juaquin Rodriguez (Merrillville, Ind./Andrean) with 5:24 to play. However, Perryman threw two interceptions to end SXU's final two drives as Olivet held on, 34-28, to pick up the upset. Saint Xavier (5-1 overall/2-0 MSFA) returns to Chicago to face MSFA Midwest League rival St. Ambrose University (Iowa) on Saturday, October 22. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m.