Football - Sat, Nov. 3, 2007
Upland, Ind. - Junior running back Jason Banning (Wilmington, Ill./Northern Illinois University/Wilmington) finished with 64 rushing yards and made two trips to the endzone to help lead No. 6 ranked Saint Xavier University (Ill.) to a 37-7 win over Taylor University (Ind.) in Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Mideast League action Saturday in Upland, Ind. The Cougars (9-1 overall/5-1 MSFA) scored 27 unanswered points in the first half and then scored its final 10 points in the third quarter to secure the victory.
SXU redshirt freshman running back Drew Rogowski (Griffith, Ind./Griffith) led all rushers in the game with 11 carries for 117 yards. Junior quarterback Billy Yeo (Matteson, Ill./Western Michigan/Rich South) finished 19-for-24 for 167 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. The Cougars receiving corps was led by freshman Mike Maher (Plainfield, Ill./Providence Catholic) with seven catches for 114 yards. Defensively, Saint Xavier held Taylor to 189 yards of total offense, including just 77 yards on the ground. Junior linebacker Joe Miller (Chicago, Ill./Gordon Tech) posted a team-best seven tackles, including a tackle for a loss and a forced fumble.
Banning scored his first rushing touchdown on Saint Xavier's first drive of the game (eight plays, 48 yards), which culminated on a nine-yard run at the 9:09 mark of the first quarter. Just under three minutes later, the Cougars scored on their second drive of the game when Yeo found sophomore receiver Bill McKeon (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) open for a 14-yard touchdown reception. On SXU's third drive, senior Shane Longest (Wilmington, Ill./Wilmington) tallied his first of three field goals on the day, a 21-yarder with 14:02 left in the second quarter to put his team ahead, 17-0.
A 28-yard touchdown run by Banning with 3:43 remaining in the first half completed Saint Xavier's fourth straight scoring drive. The Cougars ended the first half with a 45-yard field goal by Longest to take a 27-0 lead into halftime scoring on all five of its offensive possessions in the half. An interception by Yeo gave Taylor the ball back early in the third quarter and the Trojans were able to capitalize on the ensuing drive scoring their lone touchdown on a nine-yard pass by senior quarterback Trennen Kidder to junior tight end Jeff Goodman. However, SXU answered with a 49-yard field goal by Longest on its next possession to go ahead, 30-7, and then redshirt freshman quarterback Anthony Kropp (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) closed out the game's scoring on a seven-yard run with 2:54 to play in the third quarter. Leading 37-7 heading into the fourth quarter, the Cougars did not play any of their offensive starters in the fourth quarter.
Saint Xavier (9-1 overall/5-1 MSFA) closes out its regular season slate next Saturday with a big MSFA Mideast League showdown with No. 5 ranked University of Saint Francis (Ind.). The game will take place at 12 p.m. eastern time in Fort Wayne, Ind., and next week's winner will have the opportunity to host a first-round playoff game in the 2007 NAIA Championship Series, which opens play on Saturday, November 17.