CHICAGO - The third-ranked Saint Xavier University Cougars opened a
28-12 halftime lead before utilizing 21 fourth-quarter points to cruise
to a 56-25 win over the No. 14-ranked Marian University Knights at Bruce
R. Deaton Memorial Field on Saturday night.
The Cougars scored twice in the first quarter on a 26-yard touchdown pass from senior Anthony Kropp
(Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) to sophomore Shane Zackery
(Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) before senior Pat Geary
(Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) returned a Marian punt 67 yards to give SXU a 14-0 lead just 6:27 into the game.
The Knights responded with a pair of scores to cut the lead to 14-12, but senior Donnie Selby
(Alsip, Ill./Shepard) capped a 12-play, 80-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge to open a 21-12 lead with 5:34 to go in the first half.
SXU converted a missed Marian field goal with a seven-play, 83-yard drive that took just 1:15 when junior KJ Franklin
(Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee) scored from a yard out with just four seconds remaining in the half. The Cougars went into the break with a 28-12 lead.
Marian came out in the second half and scored on a 32-yard pass before SXU answered when Kropp and senior Xavier Torres
(Chicago, Ill./Central Michigan/Lane Tech) hooked up for a 32-yard touchdown of their own to open a 35-18 lead at the end of three quarters.
The Knights scored to open the fourth and cut the game to two possessions at 35-25, but the Cougars took advantage of mistakes late as an interception led to a five-yard touchdown pass from Kropp to Franklin to open a 42-25 lead.
Junior Michael Prosser
(Rockton, Ill./Rockton-Hononegah) returned an interception 31 yards for a score to push the lead to 49-25 with 10:19 left. Zackery returned a blocked punt 20 yards to put the game out of reach at 56-25 and send the Cougars to a 7-0 mark on the season and a 4-0 record in conference play.
Kropp finished the day 22-for-41 for 298 yards passing and three touchdowns. Torres led the Cougars with 142 yards receiving on five catches and a touchdown, while senior Mike Maher
(Plainfield, Ill/Providence Catholic) had seven catches for 79 yards. Zackery also had seven receptions for SXU.
Senior Brendan Sheehy
(Chicago, Ill./Brother Rice) led the Cougar defense with eight tackles (seven solo, two assists) and a tackle-for-loss. Senior Drew Rogowski
(Griffith, Ind./Griffith) had a pair of interceptions for the Cougars, while junior Patrick Appino
(Rockford, Ill./Boyland Catholic) and freshman Ryan Miles
(Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake South) each had a sack.
The Cougars head to Fawcett Stadium next Saturday to take on the Malone University Pioneers. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m.