College Football: St. Xavier shuts down William Penn in playoff opener
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media November 17, 2012 5:12PM
Jimmy Coy, of St. Xavier, scambles looking for a receiver against William Penn University in the first round NAIA playoff game at St. Xavier University, Saturday, November 17th, 2012 in Chicago, IL. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 17, 2013 1:16AM
St. Xavier linebacker Dave Marciano said the defending national champion Cougars entered the playoffs with a point to prove.
“We had big chips on our shoulders coming into this game,” the St. Rita alum said. “We’re the defending champions and we hadn’t had that big statement game yet.”
No. 4 St. Xavier had that game Saturday, completely shutting down the option attack of No. 13 William Penn (Iowa) and rolling to a 31-0 win in a NAIA Championship Series first round game at Deaton Field in Mount Greenwood.
The Cougars (10-1) held William Penn (9-3) to 80 yards of offense in the first half and finished with a 496-233 edge in total yards. The Statesmen, who entered with the most rushing yards in the nation, were held to 2.3 yards per carry.
“This was our first goose egg, and it was big,” said Marciano, who had 12 tackles and two sacks and was named Defensive Player of the Game. “All week we talked about how everyone had their role defensively. We stuck to our coaches’ game plan and it worked to our benefit.”
The Cougars will host a quarterfinal next week, possibly against rival Marian. St Xavier topped then-No. 1 Marian 23-6 on Nov. 3.
Saturday, St. Xavier was inside the William Penn five-yard line twice on its first three possessions and came away with just three points on a 21-yard Spencer Nolen field goal.
“We’re not happy with how we did in the red zone and that will give us something to work on,” St. Xavier coach Mike Feminis said.
The Cougars pulled away in the second quarter, Jimmy Coy (29-of-52, 336 yards) hitting Shane Zackery for a 23-yard touchdown pass and Corey Wennmacher for a 35-yard score before a bad William Penn snap led to a safety and a 19-0 halftime lead.
Wennmacher caught seven passes for 109 yards and was named Offensive Player of the Game.
Oak Lawn product Nick Pesek (23 carries, 79 yards; 7 catches, 74 yards) added a four-yard TD run and Jacob Ghinazzi had a 66-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second half.