Salukis stress taming turnover troubles

Salukis stress taming turnover troubles
Nick Hill's team has turned the ball over 12 times this season in its first four games. (Photo by

Over the past 16 games, Southern Illinois junior safety Jeremy Chinn has created 11 turnovers.

On the flip side, this Salukis’ offense has endured a spate of turnovers during its 1-3 start.

SIU is tied for 111th in the FCS among 124 teams with 12 turnovers this season. The team had 26 turnovers in 11 games last season.

“Every coach in the country goes into the game and has the talk about keys to the game – turnover margin, can’t turn the ball over,” SIU head coach Nick Hill said. “Some turnovers are going to happen. Some are preventable. The ones that are preventable – decision-making, putting the ball on the ground, quarterback with two hands on the football in the pocket – those are the ones we keep stressing.”

SIU senior quarterback Sam Straub has thrown eight interceptions through four games, but had only nine last season.

This week’s opponent, Youngstown State, may be just the remedy for SIU. The Penguins ranked 117th nationally with only two turnovers forced.


Three key matchups

  1. QB vs. QB: SIU’s Sam Straub has guided the Salukis to 1,703 total yards over the past three games, the most in a three-game span in school history. Last weekend against Western Illinois, YSU quarterback Montgomery VanGorder set school records with 33 completions, 57 pass attempts and 418 yards.
  2. SIU WRs vs. YSU secondary: The Penguins’ defense, which has only two interceptions this season, will have its hands full with the SIU trio of starters Raphael Leonard, Landon Lenoir and Darrell James, who have combined for 60 receptions and six TDs.
  3. SIU vs. Ohio history: The last time a Southern Illinois team won in Youngstown was in 2012. In that game, SIU scored three defensive TDs.

Game details

Southern Illinois at Youngstown State, 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6. Game will air on ESPN-Plus.

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