A fresh face gave Southern Illinois a memorable start to Saturday’s game at No. 1 North Dakota State when Je’Quan Burton returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.
The veteran Bison, however, scored touchdowns on five of their first six drives and ran away from the Salukis (2-9), 65-17, in the season finale for SIU.
Raphael Leonard’s 59-yard, first-quarter touchdown catch from Matt DeSomer tied the score at 14.
However, the Salukis scored only three more points the rest of the day.
Southern used three different quarterbacks in DeSomer, fellow senior Sam Straub and freshman Nic Baker. The trio combined to complete 11 of 21 passes for 198 yards, but had three interceptions.
SIU managed only 88 yards on the ground in the loss.
On defense, senior linebacker Withney Simon and sophomore safety Joe Patterson each had seven tackles to lead SIU.
5 Stats That Stood Out
7 – Number of ball carriers for NDSU, who combined to rush for 355 yards.
17 – Consecutive wins for North Dakota State after Saturday’s victory.
57 – Receptions this season for SIU senior wide receiver Raphael Leonard, the fifth-best single-season total in school history.
308 – Total passing yards for North Dakota State.
663 – Total yards gained for North Dakota State in the victory.
Southern Illinois opens the 2019 season at Southeast Missouri on Aug. 29.