Football - Tue, Oct. 4, 2005
CHICAGO - Although most football coaches hate to look too far ahead in their season, Saint Xavier University head football coach Mike Feminis has been anxiously awaiting his team's home match-up with No. 5 McKendree College (Ill.) on Saturday, October 8, at 1 p.m. The No. 6 ranked (highest ranking ever) Cougars are off to their best start in three years at 4-1 overall and are looking forward to every chance they can get of proving they are one of the best NAIA football teams in the nation.

"It (Saturday's game) probably doesn't get any bigger than this with both of the teams rated so high," said Feminis. "They are like a throwback to the Woody Hayes' Ohio State teams of the 60's and 70's - not very flashy, but extremely physical. It should be a heck of a game and I think any South Side college football fan that comes out is in for a big treat."

Saint Xavier has the No. 2 ranked pass offense (271.8 ypg) in the 17-team Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) led by the league's best passer in senior quarterback John Perryman (Oak Lawn, Ill./Richards). The Cougars also boast a pair of the best receivers in the conference with junior Andy Ricca (LaPorte, Ind./Michigan City) leading the league with a 100.4 receiving yards per game average and senior Jarrod Nowman (Manteno, Ill./Bishop McNamara) at No. 8 averaging 68.8 yards a game.

As a team, McKendree backs up its national ranking with solid offensive and defensive statistics. The Bearcats lead the MSFA in scoring offense (42.2 ppg) as well as keeping its opponents off the scoreboard allowing just a league-leading 7.0 points per game this season. McKendree also sits atop the MSFA in pass defense (104.5 ypg), rushing offense (285.2 ypg) and total defense (229.0 yards per game allowed).

A big advantage for Saint Xavier will be the ability to play within the friendly confines of SXU Stadium in Chicago, where the Cougars have amassed a 15-2 overall record since the 2002 season. In fact, during the 2003 season, Saint Xavier picked up a huge 24-14 upset victory over the No. 2 ranked Bearcats at home. That same season, McKendree qualified for the NAIA national playoffs and lost in first round action to eventual national champion Carroll College (Mont.).