Southern Illinois head coach Nick Hill doesn't take winning for granted. But, Saturday night's season-opening triumph over Mississippi Valley State at Saluki Stadium was never really in doubt.
After waiting an extra week to play--Southern's bye week was Week 1 of the season--the Salukis dominated their way to a 55-3 hammering of the Delta Devils.
"You never take winning for granted," Hill said on siusalukis.com. "This is why we do it. It doesn't matter what the score is. You're only guaranteed 11 games in college football. Anytime you can get a win, it feels great."
SIU built a 41-3 halftime lead and emptied its bench. Most starters did not play in the second half. The official postgame stats sheet lists 69 Salukis as players in the game.
"We were able to play a ton of players," Hill said. "We were able to play everybody who dressed, and that was big. We built some depth."
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"We'll look back, and some of those players that were in during the second half will hopefully help us win football games late in the season.
"We play in the Missouri Valley, and it's a tough league. It's a physical league. Anytime you play college football, there will be injuries. I tell the team all the time, 'The team that's coming in doesn't care about that.' It's next man up, or we won't be that good."
Players of the game
Junior running back Daquan Isom had 135 total yards (97 rushing, 38 receiving) and a touchdown for SIU.
Sophomore safety James Ceasar recorded five solo tackles, one tackle-for-loss, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry.
By the numbers
-8 Mississippi Valley State's rushing yardage during the game (SIU's defense held a Division I opponent to negative-eight or fewer rushing yards for the first time since 2000)
5 Number of true freshmen who played Saturday for Southern Illinois
7 Number of Salukis who scored a touchdown in the victory
15 Number of SIU wins in its last 16 home openers
2012 The last time the Salukis held a Divison I foe without a touchdown
The Salukis play at Southeast Missouri in a nonconference rivalry game Saturday. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.