Though they weren’t as sharp as a week ago in their Homecoming romp over rival Illinois State, the Southern Illinois Salukis were still more than enough for winless Indiana State Saturday at Terre Haute’s Memorial Stadium.
The Salukis piled up 536 total yards and pulled away for a 45-24 Missouri Valley Football Conference win.
SIU upped its record to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the MVFC. Indiana State remains without a victory under first-year head coach Curt Mallory at 0-7 overall and 0-4 in the league.
Feast or famine
The Salukis committed four turnovers, but they also punted just four times while scoring six touchdowns and a field goal.
Indiana State connected on long passes on each of its first two drives. The Sycamores got the ball first and hit a 61-yard touchdown pass to take a 7-0 lead. After SIU tied the game, Indiana State connected on a 40-yard pass that set up a touchdown. After that, SIU’s defense forced four turnovers and gave Southern’s offense the fuel to run away with its second-straight victory.
Southern’s defense only allowed 122 yards total offense over the final 53 minutes of the game.
“We didn’t come out and start the way we wanted to, but we’re going to enjoy this ride home any way we can get it,” SIU head coach Nick Hill said on SIUSalukis.com. “I’ve never beaten Indiana State since I’ve been coaching in college, and our guys came over here and found a way to get a win. It was sloppy at times, but I would rather win ugly than lose pretty.”
Quotable . . .
“Outside the first two drives, when (Indiana State) did what it wanted, our defense settled down and played lights out. We gave them the ball at the 8-yard line because of the punt, and we forced a field goal. A pick-six is the only time they scored outside those first two drives. They couldn’t really do much.”
–SIU head coach Nick Hill
. . . and notable
The Salukis won the an MVFC road game for the first time since November 2014 at Missouri State. The Salukis snapped a three-game losing streak in the series with Indiana State. After the Sycamores wrecked SIU’s Homecoming last year in Carbondale with a 22-14 win, the Salukis returned the favor on Indiana State’s Homecoming weekend this year.
Players of the game
Southern Illinois quarterback Sam Straub went 30-for-46 for 352 yards and three touchdowns. He was intercepted three times.
Southern Illinois receiver Darrell James caught seven passes for 154 yards and a touchdown.
Southern Illinois receiver Raphael Leonard had nine receptions for 104 yards.
Southern Illinois defensive back Ryan Neal had three tackles and two interceptions.
By the numbers
0 — Third-down conversions by Indiana State in 10 attempts
3 — Rushing touchdowns by Southern Illinois (Daquon Isom, D.J. Davis, Jonathan Mixon)
7 — Solo tackles by SIU defensive back Jeremy Chinn
8 — Combined turnovers in the game (four by each team)
10 — Third-down conversions by SIU in 18 attempts
61 — Longest pass by both SIU’s Sam Staub and ISU’s Isaac Harker
SIU plays at South Dakota Oct. 28 in another Missouri Valley Football Conference game.