Late score lifts Southeast Missouri over Salukis in 'War For The Wheel'

Late score lifts Southeast Missouri over Salukis in 'War For The Wheel'
D.J. Davis and his SIU teammates dropped a 48-44 shootout to rival Southeast Missouri State. (photo courtesy of

In game that saw 10 lead changes, the fight for the wheel turned into quite a wrestling match in Carbondale's Saluki Stadium.

Southeast Missouri State scored with 25 seconds remaining to upend rival Southern Illinois 48-44 and snatch away an authentic ship's wheel, the newly created prize for the winner of a rivalry series dating back to 1909.

Daniel Santacaterina, a transfer from Northern Illinois, rolled to his right and then threw back to his left for a 14-yard game-winning touchdown to Austin Crump. The TD came two plays after a 19-yard pass into the end zone was ruled incomplete and then upheld by replay.

Santacaterina, a Geneva High School graduate, went 18-for-31 for 179 yards and two touchdowns.

Southeast Missouri's Marquis Terry accounted for 438 total yards--311 rushing, 114 on kick returns and 13 receiving. Terry scored four touchdowns, including a 74-yard run. Terry broke the SEMO and Ohio Valley Conference single-game rushing record.

(Photo courtesy of

(Photo courtesy of

SIU appeared to have the game won. After receiver Raphael Leonard made an acrobatic touchdown catch on an eight-yard pass from quarterback Sam Straub with 1:52 left, the Salukis took a 43-41 lead. Leonard caught 11 balls for 124 yards and two touchdowns.

Costly penalty

On the ensuing Southeast Missouri drive, Santacaterina was intercepted by SIU redshirt freshman linebacker Luke Giegling, apparently snuffing out the Redhawk chances. However, junior defensive tackle Malik Haynes was called for roughing the passer, which gave Southeast Missouri new life.

A Hail Mary attempt by Straub fell incomplete in the end zone as time expired.

“It's a tough pill to swallow, but tomorrow is a work day for us and we have to be men about it and find a way to get better," said SIU head coach Nick Hill said. “We have a long season ahead of us."

SIU fell to 1-2 while SEMO improved to 2-1. SIU trails in the all-time series, 37-41-8.

The win snapped a 10-game road losing streak for the Redhawks.

Familiar foes

The schools are separated by just 45 miles and the Mississippi River. 

SEMO head coach Tom Matukewicz has SIU ties, having served as linebackers coach under Jerry Kill from 2001-07. Defensive coordinator Bryce Saia also coached at Southern from 2004-07.

5 Key Stats that Stood Out

3 – Straight games that Southern Illinois has scored more than 40 points

4 – Turnovers by SIU (3 interceptions, one fumble)

10.4 – Yards-per-carry by Southeast Missouri's Marquis Terry

25 – Combined penalties (SEMO 16, SIU 9)

1,078 – Combined total yards (SIU 547, SEMO 531)

What's next?

SIU opens Missouri Valley Football Conference action Sept. 29 by hosting South Dakota. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.


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