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The Journal Gazette

Friday, September 29, 2017 1:00 am

Saint Francis, Marian renew rivalry

In-state opponents have won last 2 NAIA national titles

GREG JONES | The Journal Gazette

Saint Francis at Marian

When: 6 p.m. Saturday

Where: St. Vincent Field, Indianapolis

Radio: 106.3 FM

The Saint Francis-Marian rivalry, also known as the Franciscan Bowl, couldn't be more even. 

The two teams have split 12 games while also going 3-3 in each location, Fort Wayne and Indianapolis. Even last year, Marian beat Saint Francis in Fort Wayne 35-21 in the regular season and eventually claimed the Mid-States Football Association Mideast title, but the Cougars went on to win the program's first national championship. 

The tiebreaker, at least for now, will be at 6 p.m. Saturday in Indianapolis.

“It's going to be a big game, a big rivalry game,” Saint Francis senior quarterback Nick Ferrer said. “Everybody is going to be excited for it. They have definitely had our number the last couple of times, and we are going put together a good game plan and go out there and attack them.”

Two years ago, Saint Francis rallied for a 45-42 win at Marian during the regular season, but the Knights got revenge in the NAIA semifinals with a 45-14 win at Bishop D'Arcy Stadium en route to the 2015 national title. 

The Knights also won a national title in 2012 and were runners-up in 2014. 

Marian All-American senior offensive lineman Logan Glaze, who played his high school football at Leo, has a personal perspective on the rivalry.

“There is a little chip on my shoulder because they never talked to me or recruited me right in their backyard ... that gives me personally a rivalry with them,” Glaze said. “But I see it mostly the way everybody else sees it.”

It is hard to tell who has the current bragging rights, since the Knights have won the last two matchups (both in Fort Wayne), but the Cougars are the reigning national champions and won the last matchup in Indianapolis.

“Obviously it is a rivalry, just based on geographical location and how successful we have been the last few seasons,” Glaze said. “What has made it a bigger rivalry is in '15 we won the national championship, and the next year they won the national championship.”

Both come into Saturday's game playing well. Top-ranked Saint Francis (4-0) is on a roll, opening the season with four straight blowouts, including against two straight ranked teams, 49-21 at then-No. 23 St. Ambrose and 48-23 at home against then-No. 11 St. Xavier. 

“We just want to keep working, and we are not going to look past Marian,” Saint Francis sophomore receiver Rocky James said. “We just want to game plan, go in there and fight – play-by-play.”

The No. 8 Knights (2-1) opened the season with a 32-27 loss on the road against St. Xavier but have won two in a row – 49-28 at home against No. 13 Robert Morris and 40-21 at Olivet Nazarene. 

“Everyone wants to play in big games, meaningful games, and we are two very talented teams,” said Glaze, who missed the first two games of the season while battling mononucleosis. “When we face each other, it is great competition. A lot of us look forward to playing in games where there is big competition.” 

gjones@jg.net