SIU football team has seen ups, downs in mediocre season
The Salukis are fighting to stay above water.
After a good start to the season, the Southern Illinois University (SIU) football team is at .500, with only two games left to play. The Salukis are hoping to regain some of the power they showed early in the season, when they began with a 55-3 Salluki blowout of Mississippi Valley State.
SIU dominated the entire game and saw strong performances from a number of players, including quarterback Sam Straub, who threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns, and running back Daquan Isom, who rushed for 97 yards and one touchdown.
SIU continued its winning ways, knocking off Southeastern Missouri, 35-17. Straub threw for 206 yards and four touchdowns, and Darnell James racked up 119 yards.
Then the bottom fell out, as the Salukis lost three straight.
SIU first fell to the University of Memphis, 44-31. The Salukis started the game strong, scoring two first-quarter touchdowns to take a 14-7 lead, but the Tigers outscored the Salukis from then on. Despite the loss, Straub had a big day, throwing for 290 yards and four touchdowns.
SIU then took on the No. 29-ranked University of Northern Iowa, falling to the Panthers, 24-17, and the No. 9-ranked South Dakota State University, getting drubbed, 49-14.
The Salukis ended their losing streak the following week with an emphatic 42-7 win over No. 15 Illinois State (ISU). SIU held ISU scoreless in the first half, and Straub threw for 368 yards and four touchdowns.
SIU then knocked off Indiana State, 45-24, with Straub passing for 352 yards and three touchdowns. Raphael Leonard was the leading wide receiver on the day, with nine catches for 104 yards.
Them it was more bad news, as South Dakota crushed the Salukis the following week, 42-0. Straub attempted only 10 passes and left the game with a broken hand. Tanner Hearn took over and threw for for 231 yards.
SIU then hosted Missouri State, losing 36-28 after the Bears scored 24 unanswered points in the first quarter. WIth Straub still injured, the Salukis used two quarterbacks. Hearn got the start, but Matt DeSomer also took several snaps for SIU. The two quarterbacks combined for 257 passing yards.
At the time of publication, SIU has a 4-5 record and is in eighth place in the Missouri Valley Conference. It will wrap up the season on Nov. 18 against Western Illinois.