For the first three games of the season, the Southern Illinois football team had been used to playing from ahead.
The Salukis trailed only once in victories against Mississippi Valley State and Southeast Missouri and led at halftime in a loss to Memphis.
On Saturday night in Carbondale, that trend ended as the Salukis never led in a 24-17 Missouri Valley Conference loss to Northern Iowa.
Southern trailed 17-3 at halftime and rallied twice within one score. However, turnovers on each of the team’s final three drives doomed the Salukis (2-2 overall, 0-1 MVFC).
“We were battling uphill the entire night,” SIU head coach Nick Hill said. “You have to execute consistently on a high basis, and we didn’t do that in the areas that we needed to.”
SIU quarterback Sam Straub threw for two touchdowns and 276 yards, but his two fourth-quarter interceptions in UNI territory ended scoring threats.
UNI got a boost from its run game. The Panthers (2-2, 1-0) got a combined 152 yards from running backs J’Veyon Browning and Trevor Allen. UNI entered the game ranked 116th nationally in rushing offense at 65 yards a game.
The SIU defense got 15 tackles from linebacker Kyron Watson and 14 from safety Ryan Neal.
Quotes Of The Week
“We have to figure out how to get better from this game because it doesn’t get any easier.” -- Nick Hill, SIU head coach
“Those two are becoming quite a combination.” – Mark Farley, UNI head coach, on QB Eli Dunne and WR Daurice Fountain, who connected seven times for 106 yards and a TD
Players of the game
SIU RB Daquan Isom rushed for 130 yards on 16 carries, an average of 7.9 yards a carry.
Linebacker Kyron Watson had a game-high 15 tackles for SIU, including 2.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
SIU WR Darrell James caught six passes for 97 yards and a touchdown. He surpassed 1,000 career receiving yards.
By The Numbers
2 – Missed field goals for SIU.
5 – Third-down conversions in 15 attempts for the Salukis.
7 – Yards per carry by SIU ball carriers.
7 – Players with at least one reception for SIU.
13:50 – Time of possession advantage for Northern Iowa.
15-4 – UNI’s record under head coach Mark Farley when coming off of a bye week.
Southern Illinois at South Dakota State (3-1), 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7 in Brookings, S.D.