Football - Thu, Sep. 3, 2009
Joliet, Ill. - Senior wide receiver Bill McKeon (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) finished with 58 yards on the ground, 104 yards through the air and two touchdowns to help lead No. 17 ranked Saint Xavier University to a convincing 52-21 victory over University of St. Francis (Ill.) in Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) crossover action Thursday evening at Joliet Memorial Stadium in Joliet, Ill. The Cougars (2-0 overall) jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the game's first eight minutes and never looked back leading 42-7 at halftime and posting 451 yards of total offense in the first half alone. SXU finished the game with 648 yards of total offense on 86 plays, just six yards shy of the team?s single-game record of 654 yards set last season against Olivet Nazarene University.

Saint Xavier had no shortage of impressive individual performers in Thursday's big win. Junior running back Donnie Selby (Alsip, Ill./Shepard) had nine rushes for 78 yards and a touchdown, while sophomore KJ Franklin (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee) also tallied 78 rushing yards on eight carries. Junior quarterback Anthony Kropp (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) led the offense completing 17 of his 26 pass attempts for 229 yards and two touchdowns. Junior wideout Mike Maher (Plainfield, Ill./Providence Catholic) paced the SXU receiving corps with seven catches and posted 72 yards through the air along with a score. Redshirt freshman defensive back Jeremy Rhodes (Alsip, Ill./Drake University/Brother Rice) had a pair of punt returns for 84 yards and a touchdown. On the defense, junior defensive back Pat Geary (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) finished with a team-best seven total tackles, including three solo stops.

Rhodes got the Cougars started on the right track when he returned a USF punt 77 yards for the game's first touchdown at the 10:18 mark of the first quarter. Less than three minutes later, Kropp put SXU ahead, 14-0, on a one-yard sneak. The Fighting Saints answered with a 80-yard drive capped by a 13-yard pass by senior quarterback John Goolsby to senior receiver Jason Fiske to cut the lead in half, 14-7, with 4:38 remaining in the first quarter. However, Saint Xavier responded quickly going ahead, 21-7, just under two minutes later when Kropp hooked up with McKeon for a six-yard touchdown strike. Early in the second quarter, the Cougars continued to pile up the points when Kropp found senior linebacker Mike Lally (Oak Lawn, Ill./St. Rita) open on a two-yard pass to extend the lead to 21 points, 28-7.

However, the high-powered SXU offense was far from done as Selby scored a touchdown on a two-yard run and McKeon broke free for a nine-yard touchdown rush to help the team build a 42-7 halftime advantage. With many of their starters sitting after halftime, things still started well for the Cougar offense early in the second half. Sophomore kicker Tom Lynch (Frankfort, Ill./Southern Illinois/Joliet Junior College/Lincoln-Way East) connected on a 32-yard field goal to put Saint Xavier up, 45-7, with 8:53 to play in the third frame and then Maher caught an 11-yard pass from redshirt freshman quarterback Joe Rizzi (Lansing, Ill./South Suburban CC/TF-South) at the 3:54 mark of the third quarter to cap the scoring for the Cougars. USF added two more touchdowns, one late in the third quarter and one late in the fourth, to complete the game's scoring for the night.

Saint Xavier (2-0 overall) heads to Deerfield, Ill., on Saturday, September 12, to open up its conference slate against MSFA Mideast League foe Trinity International University (Ill.). The game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start.