CHICAGO – Scoring 31 points in the first quarter, the No. 5 ranked Saint Xavier University football team pulled away early for a 54-10 victory over Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Mideast League foe Concordia University (Mich.) Saturday afternoon at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago. The Cougars improved to 7-1 overall with Saturday's big win and now sit at 3-1 in the Mideast League standings. Senior wide receiver Wes Gastel (Freeport, Ill./Freeport) had a nice game Saturday finishing with a team-best five catches for 98 yards and a touchdown, while sophomore running back Joshua Hunter (South Holland, Ill./Thornridge) racked up 109 yards on the ground off 21 carries with a score. Junior running back Nick Pesek (Oak Lawn, Ill./Oak Lawn Community) also became the first SXU running back to surpass 2,000 rushing yards in a career Saturday with his six carries for 25 yards and a touchdown. Pesek now has 2,004 career rushing yards.
Senior quarterback Jimmy Coy (Park Ridge, Ill./Valdosta State/El Camino College/Maine South) completed 11 of his 21 pass attempts on the day for 164 yards and three touchdowns. Senior defensive end Ryan Fejedelem (Lemont, Ill./Lemont) led the impressive defensive effort for Saint Xavier with six total tackles, including a tackle for a loss of three yards. In fact, the Cougar defense tallied 13 tackles for losses, including a sack, to go along with six turnovers (three interceptions, three fumbles). SXU only allowed the Cardinals 131 yards of total offense in the game.
Coy got the scoring started early in the first quarter when he hit senior wide-out Corey Wennmacher (Belvidere, Ill./Belvidere North) on an eight-yard slant on the first play from scrimmage following a blocked Concordia punt by Gastel that went out of bounds at the CU eight-yard line. A 48-yard return for the Cardinals helped set up a drive that resulted in a 36-yard field goal by junior Nathan Smith to make it, 7-3, at the 9:27 mark of the first quarter. Pesek found a hole and punched it in on a two-yard run midway through the quarter to extend SXU's lead to 14-3. Three minutes later, Coy hit senior Shane Zackery (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) on a 27-yard strike to the corner of the end zone to make it, 21-3.
Junior Spencer Nolen (Columbia, Tenn./UT-Chattanooga/Columbia Central) split the uprights on a 41-yard field goal with 3:02 remaining in the opening quarter to push the lead to 24-3. With 26 seconds left in the quarter, Gastel turned a short pass into a big gain when he sprinted 54 yards for the touchdown to give Saint Xavier a 31-3 advantage at the end of the first frame. In the second quarter, Nolen hit a 28-yard field goal, Hunter scored on a two-yard run and freshman Austin Feeney (Morris, Ill./Morris) hauled in an eight-yard pass from junior Joe Gill (Munster, Ind./Western Illinois University/Munster) to extend the lead to 47-3. Following a scoreless third quarter, Concordia freshman wide receiver Kelvin Woods broke free for a 52-yard TD reception with 8:48 to play in the game to make the score, 47-10. Sophomore defensive back Patrick Kelso (Normal, Ill./University) picked up a fumble forced by junior linebacker Raymond Buell (Kankakee, Ill./Bishop McNamara) and returned it 40 yards to cap the game's scoring.
Saint Xavier (7-1 overall/3-1 MSFA) faces a big test next weekend when No. 1 ranked Marian University (Ind.) comes to Chicago. The game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start on Saturday, November 3, at Deaton Field. Prior to the game, SXU's 2012 senior class will be honored for "Senior Day."