With both teams ranked in the NAIA's top five, Saturday's game should be a classic
With both teams ranked in the NAIA's top five, Saturday's game should be a classic
Football - Fri, Nov. 2, 2012

NAIA Football Weekly Report – No. 11

The Mid-State Football Association Mideast title is up for grabs on Saturday as No. 5 Saint Xavier (Ill.) hosts top-ranked Marian (Ind.) in the NAIA Football Game of the Week


November 01, 2012

By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information

NAIA Game of the Week
No. 1 Marian (Ind.) (8-0, 4-0 MSFAE) at No. 5 Saint Xavier (Ill.) (7-1, 3-1 MSFAE)
Saturday, Nov. 3 | 1 p.m. CDT | Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field | Chicago, Ill.

• For the second time in as many years, the Mid-States Football Association Mideast League (MSFAE) crown comes down to a matchup of No. 1 Marian (Ind.) and No. 5 Saint Xavier (Ill.). A win by Marian propels the Knights to their second-straight MSFAE title, while a Saint Xavier victory means a three-way share of the league championship between the Cougars, Marian and Saint Francis (Ind.).
• Saint Xavier enters Saturday with a 5-1 lead in the all-time series. The Cougars' lone loss came in last year's regular-season finale, 27-9.
• The two sides last met in the 2011 NAIA Football Championship Series semifinals. Saint Xavier successfully avenged its regular-season loss with a 30-27 win, sealed by a Clayton Fejedelem interception of Marian quarterback Adam Wiese with eight second remaining. Saint Xavier quarterback Jimmy Coy finished with 287 yards on 25-for-33 passing and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Wes Gastel notched a team-best six catches for 109 yards, including the go-ahead touchdown with 13:01 remaining.
• The top-ranked Knights enter the 2012 meeting riding a NAIA-best eight game win-streak and are 1-of-4 unbeaten teams remaining. Marian extended its winning streak with a 34-7 thrashing of Menlo (Calif.) on Oct. 27. Running back Tevin Lake led the Knights with 184 yards on 29 carries and a touchdown, while Wiese went 20-for-27 for 234 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, Marian held Menlo to 207 yards of total offense, including only 99 yards through the air.
• Lake continues to pace a potent offense that ranks eighth in scoring offense per game (39.4) and 12th in total offense per game (436.9). The sophomore running back boasts six 100-yard performances in seven games this season, including a stretch of three-straight with at least 180 rushing yards. Lake, who is top-five nationally in rushing yards per game (148.0), all purpose yards per game (182.6) and scoring per game (12.9), owns 1,036 rushing yards this season and 15 touchdowns. For a career, Lake has run for 2,280 yards in 20 games (114.0 yards per game).
• In addition to Lake, Wiese has continued to be consistent at the quarterback position, completing 73.1 percent (152-of-208) of his attempts for 1,813 yards and 20 touchdowns. He has only been intercepted three times in eight games. Wiese's best performances of the season came against Siena Heights (Mich.) on Sept. 8 when the senior registered 321 total yards, including 301 yards passing.
• Defensively the Knights rank amongst the top 10 in the NAIA in the following categories: rush defense per game (78.9), total defense per game (237.1), scoring defense per game (12.9) and opponent first downs (117). Defensive end Seth Vondersaar paces the squad with 46 tackles (15 solo), five tackles-for-loss and three sacks.
• Saint Xavier showcases the NAIA's second-best pass offense at 322 yards per game, while also ranking amongst the top 10 in total offense per game (486.4), first downs per game (24.4), total pass offense (2,576) and scoring offense per game (39.0).
• Last weekend, the Cougars scored 31 first quarter points en route to a 54-10 win against Concordia (Mich.). Saint Xavier's defense forced six Concordia turnovers and held the Cardinals to only 131 yards of total offense. Running back Joshua Hunter led the Cougars with a career-best 109 yards on 21 carries.
• Quarterback Jimmy Coy ranks 12th in the NAIA in passing yards per game (249.9). He is 141-for-223 for 1,749 yards and 24 touchdowns this season, including a season-best 426-yard performance against Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) in the Cougars' season opener on Sept. 1. Coy has thrown for more than 6,000 yards in two seasons at Saint Xavier, including 4,261 yards in 2011. He was named the 2011 Russell Athletic-NAIA Football National Championship Outstanding Offensive Player of the Game after recording 294 yards of total offense, with 216 coming through the air. He tossed one touchdown and found the end zone with his legs once.
• Wide receiver Shane Zackery, who was recently named as 1-of-15 recipients of the 2012 National Football Foundation's National Scholar-Athlete Award, leads a talented Saint Xavier receiving corps with 685 yards on 48 catches and eight touchdowns.
• Defensively, Zach Dolph leads Saint Xavier with 71 tackles (40 solo), including 16 tackles-for-loss. He also boasts 3.5 sacks and four pass breakups in 2012.
• As a unit, the Cougar defense ranks eighth in scoring defense per game (15.1), 14th in rushing defense per game (102.8) and 16th in total defense per game (281.5). Saint Xavier has held its opponent under 14 points in 5-of-8 games this season.
Note: Portions of this information was provided by the Marian and Saint Xavier Sports Information Departments