The next time Mike Feminis is seen walking along the St. Xavier University sideline, his attire might have already undergone a change.
“I’m taking the visor off and wearing a hat because I’ll be completely bald after this,” the veteran leader joked.
“This” referred to the Cougars’ season-opener with Marian University, a contest pitting the past two NAIA national champions against one another. And through 30 minutes of Saturday night’s clash at Bruce R. Deaton Field, it was all Knights.
The defending titlists roared out to a 24-10 halftime edge and, with SXU’s offense seemingly stuck in neutral, appeared to be in excellent position to knock off their longtime Mid-States Football Association rival. But Marian was kept out of the end zone after that, and the Cougars finally took advantage of excellent second-half field position to forge a tie in the late stages of regulation.
A missed Knights field goal necessitated overtime, and senior Joe Gill’s 13-yard pass to redshirt freshman Sean Jones in the extra session gave NAIA No. 4-ranked SXU the points it needed to secure an improbable 31-24 triumph over No. 2 Marian in a conference crossover contest.