Football - Sat, Nov. 1, 2008
Canton, Ohio - Behind 20 fourth-quarter points, the No. 16 ranked Malone University football team used a late rally to defeat No. 12 Saint Xavier University, 27-23, in Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Mideast League action Saturday afternoon at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio. The Cougars (6-3 overall/3-1 MSFA) had a nine-point lead, 23-14, with 11:08 to play in the game, but the Pioneers scored 13 unanswered points to end the game and pick up the big MSFA victory. Senior quarterback Jeremy Zientek (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) led the SXU offense Saturday completing 27 of his 40 pass attempts for 269 yards and a touchdown, but also recorded two interceptions. Saint Xavier had a pair of wide receivers each finish with over 100 yards receiving with junior Bill McKeon (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) collecting 10 catches for 102 yards and sophomore Mike Maher (Plainfield, Ill./Providence Catholic) posting eight grabs for 109 yards. McKeon also had seven rushing attempts for 36 yards and a score, while senior running back Jason Banning (Wilmington, Ill./Northern Illinois/Wilmington) led the ground attack with nine rushes for 60 yards. SXU finished the game with 522 yards of total offense. The game began as a defensive struggle with the only scoring taking place in the first half coming off a 21-yard field goal by freshman kicker A.J. Nichols (Tinley Park, Ill./Mount Carmel) with 14:44 left before halftime. Leading 3-0 at the half, the Cougars added to their lead midway through the third quarter when freshman Michael Prosser (Rockton, Ill./Rockton-Hononegah) punched it into the endzone on a five-yard run. However, the extra-point attempt failed giving Saint Xavier a 9-0 advantage. With 2:38 to play in the third quarter, Malone scored for the first time on a 27-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Billy Bob Orsagh to senior wideout Derek Deardorff to cut into the lead, 9-7. However, McKeon closed out the third quarter with a nine-yard scoring run to push his team's lead back up to nine points, 16-7. The Orsagh-Deardorff pair connected again for a 21-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter to narrow the deficit to just two points again, 16-14. However, the Cougar offense continued to move the ball and scored on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Zientek to junior wideout Matt McGinnis (Chicago, Ill./Brother Rice) with 11:08 to play in the game. Trailing 23-14, Malone scored on its next drive when Orsagh found senior wide receiver Tyler Davis open from seven yards out and then the Pioneers took advantage of a big interception. The turnover allowed Malone to score the go-ahead touchdown less than a minute after the previous score on a two-play drive capped by a 39-yard reception by Deardorff. Deardorff finished the game with eight catches for 168 yards and three touchdowns. The Cougars had their chances to get back the lead late, but turned the ball over on downs at the Malone nine yardline with just over two minutes remaining in regulation. Saint Xavier (6-3 overall/3-1 MSFA) returns home to take on MSFA Mideast League foe Taylor University (Ind.) on Saturday, November 8. The game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago.