CHICAGO – Led by solid outings from senior running backs Sean Bryce (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) and KJ Franklin (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee), the No. 5 ranked Saint Xavier University football team racked up 495 yards of total offense, including 238 yards on the ground, in a 50-14 victory over Jamestown College (N.D.) on "Senior Day" Saturday afternoon at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago. Bryce carried the ball 22 times for a game-best 106 rushing yards, while Franklin had eight carries for 38 yards and two touchdowns. The Cougars did all of their scoring damage in first-half action jumping out to a 50-7 lead at the break. SXU wraps up its regular season slate with a 10-1 overall record and awaits its postseason pairing set to be announced by the NAIA Sunday afternoon.
Some of the other key offensive performers in Saint Xavier's big regular season finale win were junior quarterback Jimmy Coy (Park Ridge, Ill./Valdosta State University/El Camino College/Maine South) and junior receivers Corey Wennmacher (Belvidere, Ill./Belvidere North) and Chase Catton (Washington, Ill./Washington). Coy threw for 232 yards and three touchdowns completing 15 of his 18 pass attempts. Wennmacher caught four passes for 67 yards and a score, while Catton finished with three grabs for 66 yards and two touchdowns. On the defensive side, the Cougars were led by freshman defensive back Clayton Fejedelem (Lemont, Ill./Lemont) with seven tackles (six solos), including a tackle for a loss of a yard, as well as two forced fumbles and a blocked kick. Senior defensive linemen Patrick Appino (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) and Ben Touzinsky (Temecula, Calif./Great Oak) each recorded a six-yard sack on "Senior Day."
SXU had no trouble getting into an offensive groove scoring on its first play from scrimmage off a 58-yard touchdown pass by Coy to Catton less than two minutes into the game. Senior kicker Tom Lynch (Frankfort, Ill./Southern Illinois University/Joliet Junior College/Lincoln-Way East) put Saint Xavier ahead, 10-0, just under three minutes later with a 32-yard field goal. After another defensive stop for SXU, the offense marched down the field again and went ahead, 17-0, on a three-yard run by Franklin with 6:05 to play in the opening frame. A backwards pass was dropped by the Cougars and the Jimmies were able to capitalize scooping up the fumble and returning it 80 yards for the touchdown to make it, 17-7, later in the quarter.
The Cougars shook it off and continued to move the ball down the field on their next drive. A 38-yard strike by Coy to Wennmacher pushed the lead back up to 17 points, 24-7, with 2:08 left in the first quarter. A blocked punt by the SXU defense gave the offense excellent field position at the Jamestown 13-yard line and it took just one play for Franklin to find a hole and get into the end zone to close out the long quarter with the home team leading, 31-7. The second quarter proved to be more of the same as sophomore tailback Nick Pesek (Oak Lawn, Ill./Oak Lawn Community) scored early in the frame on a four-yard rush, but Lynch missed the extra-point to make it, 37-7. With just under five minutes remaining in the first half, Catton would haul in a six-yard pass from Coy to push it to 44-7. A pair of field goals by senior kicker A.J. Nichols (Tinley Park, Ill./Mount Carmel) in the final two minutes of the half capped the scoring for the Cougars. The Jimmies would move up to 14 points on a seven-yard completion late in the third quarter to complete the game's scoring.
Saint Xavier (10-1 overall/4-1 MSFA) now awaits its seed and pairing for the 2011 NAIA Football Championship Series, which begins on Saturday, November 19. The first round pairings are scheduled to be released by the NAIA national office on Sunday, November 13, at 2 p.m. (central). Due to its national ranking, the Cougars will host a first-round game next Saturday.