College Football: St. Xavier starts slow, pours it on
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media September 1, 2012 10:58PM
Jimmy Coy, of St. Xavier, drops back to pass against Olivet Nazarene at Ward Field, Saturday, September 1st, 2012 in Bourbonnais, IL. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 1, 2012 1:57AM
After an offseason of celebration, much of it spent parading its 2011 NAIA National Championship trophy around the Chicago area, it was time for St. Xavier to get back to business Saturday.
The top-ranked Cougars began their title defense by cruising past Olivet Nazarene 41-12 in Bourbonnais behind five touchdown passes from Jimmy Coy.
St. Xavier totaled 609 yards, including 380 in the first half, but wasn’t satisfied.
“I’d probably give it a C-minus,” St. Xavier coach Mike Feminis said. “We started slow, then put some points on the board, then came out sluggish in the second half. They know we expect more.”
Coy finished 35-of-52 for 417 yards, often finding Shane Zackery (11 catches, 209 yards, 2 TDs).
After the Cougars’ first two drives stalled, Zackery turned a short pass into a 64-yard touchdown. Zackery’s 22-yard TD catch on the last play of the first quarter helped St. Xavier take a 14-3 lead.
“Shane and I have pretty good chemistry,” Coy said. “We were able to get into a flow tonight and exploit some holes. He had a huge game.”
Coy found Andrew product Nick DeBenedetti (4 catches, 60 yards, 2 TDs) for a 12-yard score and Wes Gastel for an 8-yard TD as the Cougars took a 28-6 lead to the break.
Coy and Joe Gill each threw a second-half touchdown pass.
The St. Xavier defense, meanwhile, held Olivet (0-2) to 198 yards and kept the Tigers out of the end zone — their only touchdown came on an interception return.
A defensive line with three new starters had an impressive debut, and Jacob Ghinazzi and Joe DeMarco (Richards) each had an interception.
“We’re really proud of the defense,” defensive end Ryan Miles said. “Everyone did their job and it was definitely a team effort.”
St. Xavier was missing running back Nick Pesek and defensive back Mark Williams, but Feminis expects the Cougars to be at full strength for next week’s showdown with No. 7 St. Francis.