Football - Sat, Oct. 17, 2009
CHICAGO - With points coming from both the offense and defense, the No. 8 ranked Saint Xavier University football team pulled away quickly for a 66-31 victory over Malone University (Ohio) in Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Mideast League action Saturday afternoon at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago. The Cougars (8-0 overall/5-0 MSFA) scored a school-record 42 points in the first quarter to open the contest with a 42-0 lead. Following five offensive scores to start the game, SXU closed out the first quarter with a blocked punt recovered in the end zone for a touchdown and then opened the second quarter with a 27-yard interception return for another one. In addition, Saint Xavier set a new single-season record for passing touchdowns finishing the game with five to put the yearly total at 31. The previous mark was 29 set during the 2005 campaign. Saturday's game had its share of record-tying individual performances as well with junior quarterback Anthony Kropp (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) tying former Cougar standout John Perryman for most touchdown passes in a season (29 in 2005). Kropp finished the day with five TD passes and now sits at 29 on the year. Junior Mike Maher (Plainfield, Ill./Providence Catholic) also found his way into the SXU record book Saturday tying the single-season record for touchdown receptions (11). Maher caught eight passes for 172 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Kropp went an impressive 20 of his 27 pass attempts for 424 yards and five touchdown passes. Junior Xavier Torres (Chicago, Ill./Central Michigan University/Lane Tech) also had a solid outing with five catches for 124 yards and two scores. It took only 18 seconds and one play for the Cougars to take the lead and never look back when Kropp hit Maher for a 59-yard touchdown connection. Just over two minutes later, SXU went ahead, 14-0, on an 18-yard run up the middle by sophomore KJ Franklin (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee). With 10:12 to play in the first quarter, Kropp found Torres open for a 42-yard touchdown strike and then hit senior Bill McKeon (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) at the 6:04 mark for a 14-yard touchdown pass. Junior Donnie Selby (Alsip, Ill./Shepard) pounded his way into the end zone from three yards out with 2:40 to play in the quarter to put Saint Xavier ahead, 35-0. After the Cougar defense stalled Malone's next drive, junior defensive back Jorge Robles (Chicago, Ill./Lane Tech) recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a defensive score with 29 seconds remaining in the quarter.

Just eight seconds into the second quarter, the SXU defense struck again when redshirt freshman defensive back Jeremy Rhodes (Alsip, Ill./Drake University/Brother Rice) picked off a Malone pass attempt and returned it 27 yards to pay-dirt. A 31-yard field goal by sophomore Tom Lynch (Frankfort, Ill./Southern Illinois University/Joliet JC/Lincoln-Way East) gave the Cougars a 52-0 cushion with 10:04 to play until halftime. The Pioneers would answer late in the second quarter with a pair of touchdowns, the first on a one-yard run by junior Markus McFolling and the second on a 16-yard touchdown pass by freshman quarterback Steve Brohl to junior Jeff Perri, to make the halftime score, 52-14. Kropp would tack on two more touchdown passes, one to Maher and the other to Torres, early in the third quarter to extend the big lead, 66-14. A 44-yard field goal by Malone late in the third quarter and a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns after SXU benched its starters completed the game's scoring.

Saint Xavier (8-0 overall/5-0 MSFA) hosts its final regular-season home game on Saturday, October 24, in a MSFA crossover game against Iowa Wesleyan College (Iowa). Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago. The Cougars will honor the seniors and their parents in a pre-game presentation in honor of "Senior Day."