Football - Fri, Oct. 26, 2007
CHICAGO - When the No. 6 ranked Saint Xavier University football team squares off against No. 11 Malone College (Ohio) at 1 p.m. this Saturday at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago, fans will be treated to a very intriguing match-up. The Cougars own the No. 1 ranked rush defense (54.6 ypg allowed) in the entire 16-team Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) and will line up across the No. 1 rusher in the league, Malone senior running back Bernard Payton.

Payton averages 124.1 rushing yards per game over eight games this season and also has a MSFA-best 19 touchdowns (14 rushing, 5 receiving). In fact, he is the only player in the league, including kickers, to average double figures in scoring per game this season at 14.5 points per game. Saint Xavier University senior kicker/punter Shane Longest (Wilmington, Ill./Wilmington) is the MSFA's second leading scorer at 9.2 points per game. Payton will have to face a wall of formidable Cougar defenders led by senior linebacker Sean Kenney (Orland Park, Ill./Stagg), who averages a team-best 8.7 tackles per game.

"Payton is the whole package," said SXU football coach Mike Feminis. "He's not only a great running back, but he is also a big threat out of the backfield catching the ball. I don't know if we can completely stop him, but hopefully, we can slow him down a little bit and make him work for his yards."

Both teams come into tomorrow's game with 7-1 overall records. Malone carries a perfect 4-0 MSFA Mideast League mark, while Saint Xavier sits at 3-1 in league play with its lone loss coming in a 42-41 setback to No. 3 Ohio Dominican University (Ohio) on October 6.