Football - Sat, Oct. 16, 2004
CHICAGO - Two field goals in the second half by Saint Xavier University senior placekicker Brad Sheehan (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way Central) helped lift the Cougars over Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.), 20-17, in Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Midwest League football action Saturday at SXU stadium in Chicago. With the win, SXU improves to 4-3 overall and 2-1 in conference play, while Olivet drops to 3-4 overall and 1-2 in the league.
Junior halfback Tom Brown (Chicago, Ill./Mount Carmel) led the Saint Xavier rushing attack with 111 yards on 22 carries, while freshman running back Chris Rodriguez (Olympia Fields, Ill./Marian Catholic) finished with 56 yards on the ground and a touchdown for the Cougars. Junior quarterback John Perryman (Oak Lawn, Ill./Richards) completed 16 of 22 pass attempts for 177 yards. Sheehan finished 2-for-3 on field goal attempts in his first game back this season after suffering a leg injury in the preseason.
Olivet dominated the first quarter by capitalizing on two Saint Xavier turnovers (a fumble and a blocked field goal attempt) scoring its first touchdown just three minutes and forty seconds into the game on a 21-yard pass from junior wide receiver Drew Bufford from junior quarterback Joe Boseo. The Tigers struck again, following the blocked field goal, using 11 plays to drive 90 yards down the field and punched in a one-yard run by sophomore running back Billy Lawrence to take a 14-0 lead.
The Cougars got some momentum back in the second quarter, however, narrowing the lead to seven, 14-7, on a two-yard rush by Rodriguez that capped a 10-play, 61-yard drive with 11:57 left in the first half. With 11 seconds to go in the half and Olivet Nazarene driving near midfield, the Cougar defense took advantage of a big fumble by junior wide receiver Thad Anderson and sophomore defensive back Segun Ayeni (Country Club Hills, Ill./Rich Central) scooped it up and sprinted 50 yards down the sideline for the game-tying touchdown as time expired.
Both teams played solid defense in the third quarter and Saint Xavier was able to manage the only score of the period on a 21-yard field goal by Sheehan with 4:41 remaining to break the tie, 17-14. Sheehan tacked on his second field goal of the day early with 9:38 remaining in regulation to put the Cougars ahead, 20-14. On a fourth and goal situation at the SXU four-yardline with just over five minutes remaining, Olivet kicked a 21-yard field goal to make the score, 20-17.
The Tiger defense was able to force a punt following two Saint Xavier first downs and got the ball back at their own 11-yardline with 1:36 remaining in the game. However, the Cougar defense came up big forcing Boseo to throw four consecutive incomplete passes to seal the 20-17 victory.
The Cougars (4-3 overall, 2-1 MSFA) head to Davenport, Iowa, to face No. 4 ranked St. Ambrose University in a key MSFA Midwest League road match-up. Game time is set for 1 p.m at Brady Street Stadium.