Canton, Ohio - Senior running back Donnie Selby (Alsip, Ill./Shepard) had nine carries for 98 yards and three touchdowns to lead the No. 3 ranked Saint Xavier University football team to an impressive 55-16 victory over Malone University (Ohio) in Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Mideast League action Saturday afternoon at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio. The Cougars improve to 8-0 overall and 5-0 in the MSFA after scoring 34 unanswered points to open the game. Selby's three scores highlighted five rushing touchdowns for SXU in Saturday's game. Saint Xavier has now scored at least 45 points in each of its eight wins this season.
Sophomore wideout Shane Zackery (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) had a big day leading the Cougar receiving corps with eight catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. Senior quarterback Anthony Kropp (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) completed 24 of his 30 pass attempts for 275 yards and three scores. Freshman wide receiver Troy Torrence (Chicago, Ill./De La Salle) had one of the best outings of his young career with six receptions for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, senior linebacker Brendan Sheehy (Chicago, Ill./Brother Rice) led the way with 10 total tackles (six solos, four assists) and a forced fumble.
Malone surprised Saint Xavier by attempting an onside kick in the game's opening kickoff, but the move backfired as the ball went out of bounds before going 10 yards and the ball was placed at the Malone 35-yard line to give SXU a short field. Selby only needed one play to take advantage of the great field position busting into the secondary and to the end zone on a 35-yard run on the first play from scrimmage. The early score was a sign of things to come as the Cougars dominated the opening quarter scoring on all three of its drives to take a 21-0 lead. A 26-yard pass by Kropp to Torrence gave SXU its second score of the game, while junior running back KJ Franklin (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee) punched it in from four yards deep to close out the first-quarter scoring.
Kropp connected with Torrence again from 11 yards out early in the second quarter to put the Cougars ahead, 28-0. Midway through the quarter, Selby found another big hole and capitalized again taking this run 39 yards for the score. A missed extra-point attempt made the score, 34-0. A big kickoff return gave the Pioneers the ball in Cougar territory and Malone used the momentum to get into the end zone on a 15-yard run by sophomore Justin McLean. After a failed PAT attempt by Malone, Saint Xavier marched down the field again and added to its big lead with a one-yard plunge by Selby to go ahead, 41-6, with 3:57 to play in the half. A pair of big fumble recoveries by the Cougar defense late in the second quarter led to two more offensive scoring drives and gave them a 55-6 halftime advantage. The first score came off a 17-yard touchdown reception for Zackery and the second was a three-yard run by junior Jimmy Sandling (Manteno, Ill./University of Indianapolis/Manteno).
With Saint Xavier's starters on the bench to start the second half, the Pioneers took their opening drive of the half down to the Cougar 25-yard line and junior kicker Jake Hardy connected on a 42-yard field goal to make the score, 55-9. The field goal would prove to be the only points scored in the quarter. Midway through the fourth quarter, Malone added another touchdown on a six-yard run by senior tailback Markus McFolling to cap the game's scoring.
Saint Xavier (8-0 overall/5-0 MSFA) heads to Mount Pleasant, Iowa, next Saturday to take on Iowa Wesleyan College (Iowa) in a MSFA crossover match-up. The game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. start at Mapleleaf Community Field in Mount Pleasant.