College Football: St. Xavier at St. Francis
September 26, 2013 6:40PM
Updated: October 28, 2013 7:38AM
No. 5 St. Xavier at No. 22 St. Francis
When: 5 p.m. Saturday at Joliet Memorial Stadium.
Coaches: Joe Curry, St. Francis; Mike Feminis, St. Xavier.
Last Year: St. Xavier defeated St. Francis 31-3 in Chicago.
St. Francis preview: The Saints’ long-awaited home opener is against a team that’s had its number over the duration of the series as St. Xavier has won 12 of the 13 meetings. Led by QB E.J. White, St. Francis has the fifth-most prolific offense in the NAIA this season with an average of 537 yards per contest. White is the NAIA national leader in yards passing per game (363.7) and total offense per game (437.7). St. Francis has scored 39 or more points in each of its first three games en route to its season average of 41.0, the 11th-highest in the NAIA. The Saints are 3-1 after a loss during Curry’s two-year tenure. The St. Francis defense has forced 11 turnovers on the year.
St. Xavier preview: St. Xavier’s defense took center stage during a 41-10 home win Saturday over then-No. 22 Robert Morris, holding the Eagles to just 163 yards of offense and without an offensive touchdown. The Cougars were honored by being named the NAIA Defense of the Week. St. Xavier leads the nation in opponent third-down percentage (21 percent) and is fifth with 14 sacks. However, the Cougars are minus-5 in turnover ratio, which is a concern. WR Nick DeBenedetti ranks sixth in the NAIA in all-purpose yards per game (190.3) and K Spencer Nolen stands 11th nationally in gross punting average (43.8). QB John Rhode has completed 63.3 percent of his passes for 523 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. QB Joe Gill has thrown for 359 yards and two touchdowns, while boasting a 60.3 completion percentage.
Next Week: St. Francis visits Concordia (Mich.). St. Xavier hosts No. 7 Grand View (Iowa).