College Football: St. Xavier falls to Indianapolis 51-20
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media September 14, 2013 9:38PM
Updated: October 16, 2013 7:01AM
Making the road trip to play a ranked Division II team in the University of Indianapolis, there was no fear or intimidation for St. Xavier on Saturday.
The 2011 NAIA national champions, the Cougars have proved they belong on any football field they take.
But their upset effort Saturday was hamstrung by five turnovers, all of them interceptions, as the University of Indianapolis defeated St. Xavier 51-20 in Indianapolis.
“Turnovers against any team is shooting yourself in the foot, but against a good team, they will get you killed,” St. Xavier coach Mike Feminis said. “We turned the ball over too many times, and we couldn’t get our defense off the field.”
Trailing 21-14 at halftime, the wheels came off in a flash for St. Xavier (1-1). Indianapolis quarterback Chris Mills hooked up with Greg Johnson for a 75-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage.
After a John Rhode interception on St. Xavier’s subsequent possession, Indianapolis (2-0) drilled a 20-yard field goal to go up 30-14. Rhode responded on the next drive, finding Ryan Carroll (Marist) for a 20-yard score, but that was all the scoring the Cougars could muster.
In his debut, Rhode finished 17-of-26 for 280 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions.
“It was a lot different from standing on the sidelines (as a redshirt), and it’s been almost two years since I played in a game,” Rhode said. “Indianapolis was switching up three- and four-man fronts, dropping a man into coverage. I made some bad reads, some bad decisions.”
Indianapolis closed the game on a 21-0 run aided by two more Rhode interceptions. The Greyhounds finished with 354 yards rushing on 51 attempts, Klay Fiechter finishing with 198 yards and a score. Matt Ripp scored three times on the ground, finishing with just 34 yards.
“Their offense wasn’t anything we hadn’t seen before or anything we weren’t prepared for,” St. Xavier linebacker Dave Marciano said. “We had a lot of missed tackles, and one missed tackle turns into a big run.”
Sean Jones (6 catches, 91 yards) and Nick DeBenedetti (6 catches, 68 yards) both had touchdown grabs for St. Xavier. Nick Pesek finished with 38 rushing yards on 16 carries.
“Coach Feminis has no problem challenging us, and we know we can compete with anybody,” Marciano said. “We just let things go in the second half.”