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#18 Saints Earn First Win Over Top-10 Team With a 24-14 Victory Over #6 Saint Francis (Ind.)

#18 Saints Earn First Win Over Top-10 Team With a 24-14 Victory Over #6 Saint Francis (Ind.)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- The No. 18 Siena Heights (7-1, 3-1) football team earned its first win over a top-10 opponent on Saturday afternoon after a 24-14 victory over No. 6 Saint Francis (Ind.) in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Kaleb Jefferson (Bluffton, Ohio) rushed for 105 yards on 19 carries while fellow running back Jared Jordan (Grosse Point Woods, Mich.) punched it in twice to help lead the Saints to the win in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Football Game of the Week. The Saints took a 17-14 lead into the half and the number one scoring defense in the country held the Cougars scoreless in the second half to hold onto the lead.

THE BASICS

Final Score: Siena Heights 24, Saint Francis (Ind.) 14

Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana (Bishop D'Arcy Stadium)

Records: Siena Heights (7-1, 3-1), Saint Francis (Ind.) (5-2, 2-2)

HOW IT HAPPENED

Jordan capped a nine-play, 42-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run to give the Saints a 7-0 lead with 9:45 remaining in the opening quarter. The Cougars knotted things up with a 98-yard touchdown run on the next drive. Jordan pounds the ball in from the one-yard line for the second time in the quarter to regain the lead for Siena, 14-7 with just over 2:00 minutes left in the first.

Anthony Secchi (Sterling Heights, Mich.) extended the Saint lead to 10-points with his first field goal of the year from 20-yards out. Saint Francis (Ind.) would score its final touchdown of the game with 3:36 left in the first half when Dan Ricksy hauled in a 30-yard touchdown pass from Matt Crable to cut the Cougar deficit to three points.

Tyler Knecht (King Mills, Ohio) finished a four-play, 11-yard drive in the third quarter that gave Siena Heights the final score of the game and another 10-point lead, 24-14. The Saint defense forced two fumbles to end drives for the Cougars in the second half. They also stopped two drives on downs to keep the 6th-ranked team in the nation off the scoreboard in the final 30 minutes of the contest.

TOP SAINTS

Offense

• Knecht finished 10-17 for 78 yards passing. He also ran for 17 yards on five carries and a touchdown.

• Jefferson finished north of 100-rushing yards for the third time this season. He needs only 292 yards to achieve a 1,000-yard season total.

• Jordan rushed 20 times for 48 yards and scored twice. 

Xavier Stallard (Fredericktown, Ohio) caught four balls for 31 yards to lead the Saint receivers.

Defense

Kole Murlin (Celina, Ohio) led the Siena Heights defense with 15 tackles, one for loss.

Nick Stalworth (Clarkston, Mich.) totaled six tackles, an interception, and half a sack.

Trenton Morrow (Norwalk, Ohio) finished with five tackles.

Trevon Claybourne (Redford, Mich.) had two tackles and an interception.

Special Teams

Caleb Meister (Toledo, Ohio) punted six times for 234 yards and pinned the Cougars inside their own 20 three times.

• Secchi hit his only field goal attempt on top of being a perfect 3-3 in extra-point attempts.

THE OPPOSITION

Offense

• Crable was 12-24 for 140 yards and a touchdown through the air.

• Martell Williams had 120 yards rushing with 12 carries and touchdown.

• Rocky James had three catches for 72 yards.

Defense

• McCormick led the Cougars with 13 tackles, one for loss.

• Nick Lucas finished with 12 tackles.

• Jamal Jackson had 11 tackles.

Special Teams

• Joe Knepper punted three times for 116 yards.

• Gavin Gardner was a perfect 2-2 in extra points.

UP NEXT

The Saints play their final road game next week when they face Indiana Wesleyan at 12:00 p.m., EST.