Kansas City, Mo. - Securing the No. 3 spot in the final regular season NAIA Football Coaches Top 25 Poll released earlier today, the Saint Xavier University football team also learned its first-round opponent for the 2010 NAIA Football Championship Series Sunday afternoon. The Cougars will host the No. 20 ranked Patriots of University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) on Saturday, November 20, at 1 p.m. at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago. The Patriots earned the final postseason spot of the 16 qualifying teams by virtue of their Mid-South Conference Western Division title and No. 20 national ranking in Sunday‘s final top 25 poll.
"It is great to have the pairings out and now our coaching staff and players can get to work preparing for University of the Cumberlands," said Saint Xavier University football coach Mike Feminis. "We have never faced them before, but I know that they play in a tough Mid-South Conference. Just like any postseason game, we will have to work hard and be ready for a battle this Saturday."
University of the Cumberlands owns a 7-3 overall record and has won six of its last seven games this season. The Patriots are averaging 39.9 points per game and boast one of the top rushing offenses in the NAIA (No. 4) averaging 273.0 yards on the ground a game. The three losses on their 2010 regular season slate came against then-No. 8 ranked McKendree University (Ill.), 34-27, in the season opener as well as to Georgetown College (Ky.), 58-40, and Belhaven University (Miss.), 24-21.
Saint Xavier brings a perfect 11-0 overall record into this Saturday's postseason match-up and went 7-0 in league play to capture its second straight Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Mideast League title. The Cougars rank No. 1 in the NAIA in total passing yardage (3,702) and total scoring offense (557) and No. 2 nationally in scoring offense per game (50.6). Defensively, Saint Xavier is impressive as well with the team ranked No. 7 nationally in scoring defense per game (15.8 points a game) and No. 7 in total sacks (31).
The two teams have never faced each other on the football field in SXU's 18-year history of football. The winner will qualify for quarterfinals action of the 2010 NAIA Football Championship Series, which takes place on Saturday, November 27.