Football - Wed, May. 26, 2004
CHICAGO -- Saint Xavier University head football coach Mike Feminis has always loved a challenge, especially on the football field. The former NAIA All-American and Defensive Player of the Year at linebacker will face a big challenge on Thursday, September 2, in Normal, Ill., when his Cougars square off against NCAA Division I-AA opponent Illinois State University at 7 p.m. in their 2004 season opener. One thing is certain, however, Saint Xavier will be ready for the task. "Playing Illinois State is obviously a step up in competition for us and the greatest challenge we've ever had," said Feminis. "When you are talking about a solid Division I-AA school, that has 65 scholarship equivalencies compared to a NAIA school which has 24, that is certainly a big difference. I don't think we can compete in the Gateway Conference (Illinois State's football conference) week-in and week-out, but you never know what could happen in a one-game situation. I do know this much--we definitely have some guys who can play at that level and we will not be intimidated."

This will be only the fourth meeting with a NCAA Division I-AA opponent in the SXU football program's 11-year history and its first since 1995. The Cougars have played Valparaiso University (Ind.) twice (in 1995 and 1993) and Butler University (Ind.) during the 1994 season. In 1995, SXU played Valpo tough before eventually falling, 41-30.