Bourbonnais, Ill. - Senior quarterback Anthony Kropp (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) completed 19 of his 21 pass attempts for 263 yards and six touchdowns to lead No. 4 Saint Xavier University to a 56-17 Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) victory over Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) Saturday evening at Ward Field in Bourbonnais, Ill. The Cougars (4-0 overall) scored on their first four drives of the game and led 28-7 after the opening quarter. On the night, SXU finished with 516 yards of total offense with most of those coming in the first half. In fact, the Cougars scored all of their points in first-half action taking a 56-14 lead into the intermission.
Senior wide receiver Mike Maher (Plainfield, Ill./Providence Catholic) had another big night for Saint Xavier posting 230 all-purpose yards, including 100 receiving yards, and three touchdowns (one off a punt return). As a unit, the Cougar defense was tough throughout recording 11 tackles for losses, six sacks, three interceptions and a fumble recovery on the night. Senior running back Donnie Selby (Alsip, Ill./Shepard) led the ground attack for SXU carrying the ball eight times for 34 yards and a score.
Selby opened the game's scoring with an eight-yard touchdown run just one minute into the contest to put SXU ahead, 7-0. A fumble on Olivet's first play from scrimmage allowed the Cougars to extend its lead to 14-0 just 17 seconds later when Kropp connected with sophomore wideout Shane Zackery (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) from 15 yards out. Maher would score Saint Xavier's next two touchdowns later in the first quarter, the first on a 19-yard pass from Kropp and the second on a 39-yard punt return with 7:23 left in the frame. Trailing 28-0, the Tigers would cut into the large deficit with 1:39 remaining in the opening quarter on a three-yard run by junior linebacker Nathan Schott.
In the second quarter, Maher would strike again with a 27-yard touchdown reception with 13:55 remaining in the first half to put the Cougars ahead, 35-7. Schott would find the end zone for ONU again from two yards out to make it, 35-14. Saint Xavier would close out the first half with three more touchdowns to put the game away. The first came on a six-yard reception by junior running back KJ Franklin (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee). Kropp would find freshman wide receiver Troy Torrence (Chicago, Ill./De La Salle) for 16 yards for the next touchdown and then connect with Selby for a 22-yard completion to cap SXU's scoring. Olivet added a 31-yard field goal late in the third quarter to complete the game's scoring.
Saint Xavier (4-0 overall/2-0 MSFA) heads downstate to Quincy, Ill., next Saturday for a MSFA crossover game against Quincy University (Ill.). The game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start, the first early afternoon game for the Cougars thus far this season.