Bourbonnais, Ill. -
Senior running back Nick Pesek
(Oak Lawn, Ill./Oak Lawn Community) capped off the final regular season game of his collegiate career in impressive fashion leading No. 21 ranked Saint Xavier University with 25 carries for 146 yards and three touchdowns in a dominating 34-7 win over Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Midwest League foe Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) Saturday afternoon at Tiger Field in Bourbonnais, Ill. The Cougars racked up 507 yards of total offense and pulled away early going up 27-0 at the half. Fifth-year senior quarterback Joe Gill
(Munster, Ind./Western Illinois/Munster) also had a big game for SXU completing 35 of his 49 pass attempts for 359 yards and two touchdowns.
Junior wide receiver Nick DeBenedetti
(Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) was Gill's primary option pulling in 11 receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown. Senior linebacker Dave Marciano
(Chicago, Ill./St. Rita) had a monster game defensively leading the Cougars with nine tackles (eight solos), including a pair of sacks. Freshmen wide-outs Stephen Simms
(Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) and Ryan Carroll
(Evergreen Park, Ill./Marist) also had solid outings for Saint Xavier. Simms had seven catches for 59 yards, while Carroll hauled in five grabs for 56 yards and a touchdown. Senior linebacker Zach Dolph
(Crest Hill, Ill./Joliet Catholic) had seven tackles to bring his impressive season total to 112.
SXU got on the scoreboard early capping its first offensive drive with a seven-yard touchdown run by Pesek to go ahead, 7-0. Gill hit Carroll for a 26-yard touchdown strike on its next drive to put the Cougars up, 13-0, after the failed extra-point attempt. Pesek found the end zone again with just under a minute to play in the opening quarter to extend the lead to 20-0. Early in the second quarter, Pesek scored his third touchdown of the game, tying a program single game record in the process, on a two-yard plunge.
That proved to be the final score of the first half and Saint Xavier went into the locker room with a 27-0 halftime lead. Gill found DeBenedetti open in the back of the end zone at the 6:19 mark of the third quarter to wrap up SXU's scoring for the game. A blocked punt by the Tigers set up a short field and led to Olivet's only score of the game on a one-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
Saint Xavier ends the regular season with a 7-4 overall record and finished third in the Midwest League of the MSFA with a 4-2 mark. The Cougars have a very slim chance of qualifying for the 2013 NAIA Football Championship Series, which begins on November 23.