ADRIAN, Mich. -- The Saints face their toughest challenge this season when they host the No. 2-ranked Marian (Ind.) Knights (7-0, 3-0 MSFA) this Saturday, October 27.
Siena Heights come into the game with a 6-1 overall record and a 2-1 MSFA mark. Siena Heights began the 2018 campaign with back-to-back road contests for the first time in program history. The Saints also made history with their first 5-0 start. Siena began the year with a 21-7 win at Missouri Baptist and a 16-7 win at Olivet Nazarene. The Saints then won their home opener 40-0 over Robert Morris (Ill.) before another road win (38-27) over Saint Francis (Ill.) on September 22. Siena rolled to a 40-13 win over Taylor at homecoming that included a three-hour weather delay before the overtime loss to St. Francis (Ind.). Last week, the Saints cruised to a 31-10 win over first-year program Indiana Wesleyan.
The Knights started the season with two blowout wins over Saint Xavier (Ill.) (52-7) and Robert Morris (Ill.) (51-7). Marian (Ind.) then faced Olivet Nazarene and was victorious 24-6 before meeting then No. 1 St. Francis (Ind.) on the road and winning 37-28. The Knights followed up that performance with roads wins against St. Ambrose (52-0) and Taylor (55-0). Last week, the second-ranked Marian (Ind.) Knights met No. 10 Concordia (Mich.) and rolled to a 48-17 win.
This will be the seventh meeting between Siena Heights and Marian (Ind.) in football. The Knights have won all six of the previous meetings in the all-time series. Marian (Ind.) has been ranked in the top 10 in three of the last six meetings, the most recent of which was in 2016 when the Knights were the top-ranked team in the nation. This is the first meeting between these two teams in which both of them are ranked in the NAIA Football Coaches' Top 25.
Marian (Ind.) has outscored the Saints 215-85 in the series and the average margin of victory is 21.67 points. This year's meeting will be the fourth at O'Laughlin Stadium.
The Saints are led offensively by the running duo of fifth-year senior D'aires Davis and redshirt freshman Jared Jordan. Davis has accumulated 815 rushing yards and one touchdown so far this season. He is currently averaging 4.9 yards per carry and 116.4 yards a game, which is 4th in the league. Jordan has 468 rushing yards and has scored 11 of Siena's 17 rushing touchdowns.
Siena is currently second in total defense, rush defense, and pass defense. The defensive unit is led by sophomore linebacker Nick Stalworth and 4th-year junior Griffin Sobol with 43 tackles. Stalworth has tallied 1.5 tackles for loss, one interception that was returned for a 45-yard touchdown, and two pass breakups. Sobol has 1.5 sacks, three tackles for loss, three interceptions, and two pass breakups.
On special teams, SHU is led by senior kicker Brady Tanguay. Tanguay is 9/13 in field goals (69%) with a long of 43 yards. Punter Caleb Meister has 1221 yards on 33 punts this year. He has pinned seven of his kicks inside the 20-yard line and has a season-long of 51 yards.
The Knights are led on offense by running back Charles Salary. He has 114 carries for 827 yards and seven touchdowns. Wesley Cook and Tristen Tonte are also scoring threats in the ground attack as they have combined for 10 touchdowns (Cook 4, Tonte 6). Ethan Darter leads Marian through the air going 71-106 (67%) passing for 956 yards and 12 touchdowns. Johnny William is the team's leading receiver with 37 grabs for 628 yards and seven touchdowns.
Defensively the Knights are led by Nickai Poyser with 38 total tackles (3.5 TFL-6 yds.). He has also picked off one pass, recovered a fumble, and broken up a pass. Bailey Bennett has 29.5 tackles (3.5 TFL-7 yds.) and one fumble recovery. Darrell Wilson has registered 22 tackles (1 TFL-2 yds.), one interception, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Mac Dutra is the team's leading sack threat, totaling seven so far this season.
The game is slated for a 1:00 p.m., EDT, kickoff. Fans that are able to make the game can watch the video stream, follow the live stats, or listen to the WLEN broadcast via online or by tuning into 103.9 FM on Saturday afternoon.