Football - Sat, Oct. 25, 2008
CHICAGO - Behind nine carries for 143 yards and three touchdowns by senior running back Jason Banning (Wilmington, Ill./Northern Illinois/Wilmington), the No. 13 ranked Saint Xavier University football team ran all over Marian College (Ind.) and posted a convincing 53-10 victory in Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Mideast League action Saturday night at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago. The Cougars (6-2 overall/3-0 MSFA) have now won six straight games since starting the season with a 0-2 mark. Marian scored a field goal on the game's opening drive before SXU outscored the Knights, 53-7, the rest of the way, including 39 unanswered points starting from the 10:24 mark of the second quarter.

The game was won on the ground for Saint Xavier with the team racking up 270 rushing yards on 38 carries. The Cougars finished the game with 458 yards of total offense. In addition to Banning, senior running back Juaquin Rodriguez (Merrillville, Ind./Andrean) posted 52 yards rushing and a touchdown on 10 carries, while freshman running back Sheldon McCullough (Chicago, Ill./Upper Iowa/Amundsen) had six carries for 46 yards and a score. Senior quarterback Jeremy Zientek (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) completed 15 of his 27 pass attempts for 181 yards and a touchdown in addition to rushing five times for eight yards and a score. Junior wideout Matt McGinnis (Chicago, Ill./Brother Rice) was Zientek's main target with five catches for 59 yards.

Marian got on the scoreboard first during the game's opening drive when Bryan Quackenbush split the uprights on a 34-yard field goal to give the Knights a 3-0 lead with 12:42 to play in the first quarter. However, the lead would last mere seconds as sophomore wide receiver Xavier Torres (Chicago, Ill./Central Michigan/Lane Tech) took the ensuing kickoff back 76 yards for a touchdown to give SXU a 7-3 advantage. After a defensive stop by the Cougars, Rodriguez would cap a seven-play, 49-yard drive with a 17-yard touchdown run with five minutes left in the quarter to build a 14-3 lead. Marian would answer early in the second quarter with a five-yard TD pass by sophomore wide receiver JaQuan Patilla to sophomore running back William Stubbs to cut the lead to four, 14-10.

However, the rest of the game was all Saint Xavier as the Cougars scored 39 straight points en route to the 53-10 victory. A big 50-yard kickoff return by freshman K.J. Franklin (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee) allowed SXU to score its next touchdown, a two-yard keeper by Zientek, on just three plays. Saint Xavier would close out the first half with a pair of rushing touchdowns by Banning, one for two yards with 5:18 to play in the half and the second on an eight-yard rush with 43 seconds remaining. Leading 32-10 at halftime, Zientek connected with sophomore wide receiver Mike Maher (Plainfield, Ill./Providence Catholic) for a 21-yard touchdown strike at the 10:51 mark of the third quarter. Banning then got his big run of the game when he broke free for an 80-yard touchdown with 1:26 to play in the third quarter to put his team ahead, 46-10. McCullough closed out the scoring for the Cougars with a 22-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Saint Xavier (6-2 overall/3-0 MSFA) continues its MSFA Mideast League slate on Saturday, November 1, with a huge road game against No. 18 Malone College (Ohio). The game is scheduled for an 11 a.m. (eastern) start at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio.