Kansas City, Mo. - Moving up one spot to No. 4 in the final regular season NAIA Football Coaches Top 25 Poll released Sunday morning, the Saint Xavier University football team also learned its first-round foe for the 2009 NAIA Championship Series Sunday afternoon. The Cougars will host the No. 9 ranked Bearcats of McKendree University (Ill.) on Saturday, November 21, at 1 p.m. at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago. McKendree is a familiar foe from when SXU played in the Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Midwest League from 1998-2006.
"I think it is great to see that we are playing a team that was one of our biggest rivals when were members of the Midwest League," said Saint Xavier University football coach Mike Feminis. "I have the utmost respect for Coach Poelker and his program and I know that this is going to be a great match-up."
McKendree University sits at 9-1 overall and is currently riding a nine-game win streak after dropping its season-opener to then-No. 22 ranked Ottawa University (Kan.), 31-21. The Bearcats are averaging 34.1 points per game and boast the No. 2 scoring defense in the NAIA allowing just 11.4 points per game to their opposition. McKendree has a powerful rushing attack that is ranked fifth in the nation averaging 248.1 yards per game on the ground.
Saint Xavier brings a perfect 11-0 overall record into Saturday's postseason game and went 7-0 in league play to capture its first MSFA Mideast League title in the program's 17-year history. The Cougars rank No. 3 in total offense per game (519.4 yards per game) and No. 4 nationally in scoring offense (48.5 points per game). Defensively, Saint Xavier is tough as well with the team ranked No. 9 in total defense per game (263.2 yards allowed per game) and No. 11 in scoring defense (16.1 points allowed per game).
The last time SXU and McKendree squared off was on September 9, 2006, in Lebanon, Ill., and the Cougars came out on top, 13-10. The all-time series record between the two schools is 7-4 in favor of the Bearcats, but Saint Xavier has won the last two meetings. SXU is 2-0 in its last two first-round games of the NAIA Championship Series (2006 & 2007).Click here to read the official NAIA Championship Series pairings release