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College football preview: Saint Francis at Saint Francis (Ill.)

Records: No. 4 Saint Francis (4-1, 1-0 MSFA Mideast); No. 20 Saint Francis (Ill.) (4-2, 2-0)

When: 5 p.m. today

Where: ATI Field, Joliet, Ill.

Radio: 1450 AM

3 matchups to watch

Saint Francis (Ill.) WR Troy Torrence vs. Saint Francis DBs: Torrence comes into today’s game as the fifth-leading receiver in the NAIA, and he’s been especially comfortable at ATI Field this season. Torrence has caught 16 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns at home; against Saint Xavier, he set a school record with 243 receiving yards. That makes him the latest guy to shut down for Cougars DBs Taylor Brown, Kory Stamps and Na’Shawn Lewis, who’ve given up just four passing touchdowns through five games. And while Torrence is averaging 21 yards per reception at home, Brown, Stamps and Lewis et al. are limiting opposing receivers to 10.4 yards per catch. Something’s got to give.

Saint Francis (Ill.) QB E.J. White vs. Saint Francis down seven: Another week, another high-end flinger to rein in. White’s 363 yards running and passing in the Saints’ win over Robert Morris last week gave the senior 11,409 yards of total offense for his career, eighth on the NAIA all-time list. He ranks third in the NAIA and fourth in passing for an offense that’s fourth in total offense and 10th in scoring – which means a Cougars team that has eight sacks in five games must find a way to put some heat on that offense’s triggerman.

Saint Francis vs. laundry: The Cougars have built their 4-1 record partly on their tendency not to get penalty flags thrown at them as much as their opponents. In five games, they’ve been penalized 14 times to their opponents’ 24. In three road games, they’ve been penalized just 10 times – and six of those came in the season opener at William Penn. Saint Francis (Ill.), meanwhile, comes into today averaging 87.2 penalty yards per game. Could be a difference-maker.

– Ben Smith, The Journal Gazette