CHICAGO - On Saturday afternoon at Bruce R. Deaton
Memorial Field in Chicago, the statement "X marks the spot" had plenty of
meaning. For starters, the No. 3 ranked
Saint Xavier University football team flexed its muscles in a 30-6 home victory
over No. 7 University of Saint Francis (Ind.).
SXU football coach Mike Feminis secured milestone career win No. 100 and
his team won the Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Mideast League title
and secured another perfect regular season (11-0) for the second straight
year. However, the statement really hit
its "mark" when the Cougars own version of "X," senior wide receiver Xavier Torres (Chicago, Ill./Lane Tech) finished with game-highs of 12 catches for 202
yards and two touchdowns. The six points
scored by USF was its lowest scoring output in a regular season game since
scoring six points in its 1999 season opener against Valparaiso University
"It feels great to get such a milestone win in such a storybook
fashion by clinching the MSFA Mideast League title and finishing another
perfect regular season, but as I told our team after the game, we still have to
focus on our one goal of winning a national championship," said Feminis. "You don't get to 100 career wins without
great players and a great coaching staff and I have been blessed to work with
both during my career at Saint Xavier.
My hat is off to this team today.
They came out focused on both sides of the ball and beat a great
football team that has had our number for years. It is nice to be on top of the hill."
Senior quarterback Anthony Kropp (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way
East) went 28-for-42 for 337 yards and three touchdowns, while senior wideout
Mike Maher (Plainfield, Ill./Providence Catholic) pulled down nine receptions
for 97 yards and a score. Both Kropp and
Maher set SXU records Saturday when they connected for a second-quarter
touchdown. Kropp became the
single-season passing touchdown leader with his 45th of the year,
while Maher set two marks on the same play with his 16th touchdown
reception of the season and 19th touchdown of the year. Junior kicker Tom Lynch (Frankfort,
Ill./Southern Illinois University/Joliet Junior College/Lincoln-Way East) had
another perfect day hitting all three field goal attempts and three
extra-points. Defensively, senior
cornerback Pat Geary (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) posted nine tackles (six
solo, three assists), two tackles for losses, an interception and two
As usual this season, it did not take long for Saint Xavier to
take a lead going ahead, 7-0, on a nine-yard reception by Torres on the game's
opening possession. Lynch connected on a
27-yard field goal midway through the first quarter to put his team up,
10-0. Early in the second frame, Lynch
struck again with a 28-yarder to give the Cougars a 13-0 lead. The second field goal by Lynch was set up by
a great defensive play by red-shirt freshman Jacob Ghinazzi (Rockford,
Ill./Boylan Catholic), who intercepted a pass at the USF 31-yard line and
returned it 18 yards to the USF 13-yard line.
With three minutes to play in the first half, Kropp connected with Maher
for the record-setting hook-up to make the score, 20-0, at the half.
Saint Francis moved the ball effectively to start the second half
using 17 plays to eat up the first nine minutes of the third quarter. However, the drive came up empty when Geary
intercepted a pass in the end zone. SXU
would take advantage on the ensuing possession with Torres capping a six-play,
80-yard drive with a 32-yard touchdown grab.
Trailing 27-0 to open the fourth quarter, Saint Francis would get on the
board with a 21-yard pass by senior quarter Shaine Tierney to sophomore
wide-out Austin Coleman with 14:11 to play in the game. Lynch would cap the scoring with a 25-yard
field goal with 11:33 remaining.
Saint Xavier (11-0 overall/7-0 MSFA) has a bye next weekend and
awaits its pairing for the 2010 NAIA Championship Series, which begins on
Saturday, November 20. Due to its national
rank, the Cougars will host at least two postseason games. The pairings will be released at 2 p.m. on
Sunday, November 14.