Football - Sat, Sep. 29, 2007
Canton, Ohio - Behind seven tackles for losses and three interceptions by the defense, the No. 3 ranked Saint Xavier University football team was able to overcome a slow offensive start and defeat No. 12 Walsh University (Ohio), 13-10, in its Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Mideast League opener Saturday at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio. Coming into the game averaging 44.5 points per game, SXU managed only six points in the game's first three quarters, but the Cougar defense held Walsh in check allowing just one touchdown and 255 yards of total offense.

Senior kicker Shane Longest (Wilmington, Ill./Wilmington) provided all the scoring for the first half kicking a 43-yard field goal with 10:32 left in the first quarter to put Saint Xavier up, 3-0. Walsh's freshman kicker Eric Buchanan made what looked like a game-tying 37-yard field goal with 56 seconds to play in the first half, but when SXU was called for a personal foul penalty, the Cavaliers opted to take the penalty for a first and goal opportunity on the 10-yard line. However, the move backfired when WU's junior quarterback Marc Pullen was intercepted on the one-yard by junior defensive back Casey Weidenbacher (Naperville, Ill./Naperville North) on a third-and-goal play with 35 seconds left in the half.

Longest tacked on a 31-yarder with 4:13 to play in the third quarter to give the Cougars a 6-0 advantage, but Walsh was able to answer on its next drive going 65 yards on 10 plays to take a 7-6 lead on a one-yard touchdown run by redshirt freshman tailback Clinton Blossomgame. A 52-yard kickoff return by sophomore wide receiver Bill McKeon (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) on the ensuing kick gave Saint Xavier excellent field position at the Walsh 42-yard line. The Cougars took complete advantage by marching the 42 yards on nine plays and capping the drive with a one-yard quarterback keeper by senior Billy Yeo (Matteson, Ill./Western Michigan/Rich South).

Trailing 13-7 with 6:43 to play, Walsh ended its next drive with a 42-yard field goal to cut the SXU lead to three, 13-10. The Cavaliers had one last chance in the waning seconds of the game to try and get into field goal range, but sophomore defensive back Pat Geary (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) intercepted a Walsh pass with 38 seconds left on the clock to seal the victory. Yeo completed 21 of his 29 pass attempts for 158 yards, but his lone touchdown came on the ground finishing with eight carries for 26 yards and a score. McKeon led the receiving corps with 13 catches for 91 yards, while junior running back Juaquin Rodriguez (Merrillville, Ind./Andrean) piled up 50 rushing yards on 16 carries. On defense, senior linebacker Sean Kenney (Palos Hills, Ill./Stagg) finished with a game-high 17 tackles, including eight solos.

Saint Xavier returns home for a huge Homecoming match-up against No. 6 Ohio Dominican University at 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 6, at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago. Ohio Dominican is coming off a big 30-20 upset win over MSFA Mideast League foe and No. 2 ranked University of Saint Francis (Ind.).