Adrian, Mich. – Behind a record-tying night by junior running back Nick Pesek (Oak Lawn, Ill./Oak Lawn Community), the No. 6 ranked Saint Xavier University football team pulled away early for a 45-7 over Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Mideast League foe Siena Heights University (Mich.) at O'Laughlin Stadium in Adrian, Mich. The Cougars (5-1 overall) were nearly unstoppable on offense in the first half scoring 35 first-half points to build a commanding 35-0 halftime advantage. Pesek tied the school record with his three rushing touchdowns to go along with his 11 carries for 176 yards on the ground. The last SXU player to rush for three touchdowns in a single game was Donnie Selby against Malone University (Ohio) on October 16, 2010.
Senior quarterback Jimmy Coy (Park Ridge, Ill./Valdosta State/El Camino College/Maine South) was back in the starting line-up after missing Saint Xavier's last game against University of Saint Francis (Ind.) due to injury. Coy looked sharp completing 16 of his 25 pass attempts for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore Nick DeBenedetti (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) led the Cougar receiving corps with five catches for 46 yards and a score. Defensively, SXU was paced by junior linebacker Zach Dolph (Crest Hill, Ill./Joliet Catholic) with seven tackles, including two for losses.
Pesek set the tone for the game when he broke off an 82-yard run on SXU's first play of its second drive of the first quarter to take the ball inside the SHU 20-yard line. Coy finished the drive a few plays later when he found senior Chase Catton (Washington, Ill./Washington) in the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown reception at the 9:13 mark of the first quarter. On the Cougars' next possession, the offense marched down the field again and pushed the lead to 14-0 on a 27-yard screen pass by Coy to DeBenedetti. Early in the second quarter, Pesek went untouched up the middle for a two-yard scoring run to make it, 21-0. Just four minutes later, Pesek struck again when he found a hole right up the middle of the field and plowed 42 yards to the end zone to extend the lead to 28-0. Pesek capped the first-half scoring with less than two minutes remaining when he scored his third touchdown of the game on an 11-yard run.
Near the midpoint of the third quarter, junior kicker Spencer Nolen (Columbia, Tenn./UT-Chattanooga/Columbia Central) converted on a 23-yard field goal to give Saint Xavier 38 unanswered points. With just under six minutes left in the third quarter, the Saints got on the scoreboard with a one-yard keeper by freshman quarterback Thomas Zajkowski. Two plays later, junior quarterback Joe Gill (Munster, Ind./Munster) put the exclamation point on the game's scoring when he hit freshman Austin Feeney (Morris, Ill./Morris) for a 37-yard touchdown strike.
Saint Xavier (5-1 overall/1-1 MSFA) heads to Upland, Ind., next Saturday to take on Taylor University (Ind.) in MSFA Mideast League action. The game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. (eastern) start.