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  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette Quarterback Matt Crable and the Saint Francis Cougars are coming off a rare week off.

Friday, September 20, 2019 1:00 am

Cougars coming off rare week of resting

Ready to get back to field after victory, cancellation

ELIZABETH WYMAN | The Journal Gazette

It was a rare off week for No. 3 Saint Francis. After blowing out St. Francis (Ill.) 56-6 to open the season on Sept. 7, the Cougars had last week off because Lindenwood-Belleville, which was initially scheduled to come to Fort Wayne, canceled its football program in July.

“It was a little strange, but we didn't have control over it,” coach Kevin Donley said. “We talked to the kids about we deal with what we have control over.”

It gave the Cougars time to rest some players and heal some bodies before Saturday night's meeting with 1-1 Robert Morris (Ill.).

“It's the first time we've had two days off in a row,” Donley said.

Tuesday was the first day back in pads for the team since the prior Thursday.

“I'm hoping some bodies will be fresher and legs ready to go,” Donley said.

Senior receiver Will Chrisman was on crutches during the off week, and Donley said he won't play Saturday. Sophomore linebacker Cade Erwin has an ankle sprain, but Donley is hoping he'll be back soon.

Starting receivers Dan Ricksy and Rocky James had been dealing with injuries leading up to the season opener, but both looked fine in the game.

After opening the season with a 31-14 win over Taylor, Robert Morris lost 6-0 to Siena Heights, giving up a touchdown on the first drive of the game.

The Eagles outgained Siena Heights, but the Saints have one of the best defensive units in the Mid-State Football Association.

“Siena Heights has got great defense,” Donley said. “It is just stout. They have athletes that can run and cover, so if our defense can play like that, I'll feel pretty confident.”

The Cougars have won four of five meetings with the Eagles, including a 42-9 win last year, but Robert Morris boasts a talented team.

The Eagles bring back an experienced offensive line with Fred Bush and Justin Moore to protect senior quarterback Quinn Kelly. Kelly went 16 of 22 for 286 yards and a touchdown in the Week 1 win.

Senior receiver Noah Comerford caught five passes for 56 yards in last week's loss.

Saint Francis junior quarterback Matt Crable and the high-powered Cougars offense will present a challenge for the Eagles.

Crable had a record day to open the season, going 16 for 22 for 251 yards, and a record-tying six touchdown passes to five different receivers

“We protected the quarterback well,” Donley said. “He had time to throw. He had a few scrambles and he made plays on them.

“He moves well and throws well on the run. He's making throws on time and making good choices.”

Still, Donley is expecting a challenge and is eager to see how his team responds after the mini break.

“Robert Morris is a good football team, and I think it gets a little tougher each week,” Donley said. “Robert Morris is going to be tough, Ambrose is going to be tough; the gauntlet starts this week.”

ewyman@jg.net