No. 9 Salukis overpower grid Bears, 45-10
The ninth-ranked Southern Illinois Salukis established themselves on the ground and through the air early in the contest and bounced back from their lone defeat of the season with a 45-10 Gateway Football Conference win over Missouri State’s Bears Saturday afternoon at McAndrew Stadium in Carbondale, Ill.
A week after a 30-24 loss at top-ranked Northern Iowa dropped SIU from the unbeaten ranks, the Salukis were in high gear from the start and rolled to a 31-0 lead late in the second quarter in climbing to 7-1 on the season at 3-1 in the Gateway. The game was Missouri State’s fifth road game in seven weeks and dropped the Bears to 4-4 overall and 1-3 in the league. The Bears finished their road play for the year 1-4 and lost a second straight game for the first time all season.
SIU got a TD and a field goal in the first quarter and then racked up three straight touchdowns in the second period before the Bears got onto the scoreboard with a Nathan Stokes field goal on the final play of the first half. The three-pointer came after the Bears had completed a pass into the end zone but were flagged for holding.
Southern Illinois TB John Randle ran for his third touchdown of the game midway in the third period and TB Larry Warner closed out SIU’s scoring with a 58-yard scoring run in the first minute of the final frame. Senior TB Gerald Davis got Missouri State’s lone touchdown of the day on a three-yard run that capped a 57-yard drive for MSU at the end of the third quarter. It was the 11th rushing touchdown of the season for Davis, a feat accomplished by only seven previous players in Bears’ grid history.
Missouri State turned the ball over twice on interceptions and lost it on downs three times as the Bears failed fourth- down conversion tries. After going three plays and out the first time they had the football, the Salukis got six touchdowns and a field goal on their next seven possessions.
SIU’s Nick Hill, the Gateway’s top-ranked passer, continued his pin-point accuracy as he hit 20-of-26 throws for 241 yards and no interceptions. Warner’s 87 yards and 59 by Randle spearheaded an SIU running game that produced 255 yards as SIU amassed 496 total yards in the contest. The Bears got 203 of their 287 total yards through the air, with freshman QB Cody Kirby hitting 17-of-33 passes for 176 yards. TE Clay Harbor was Kirby’s busiest target with seven grabs for 87 yards.
Missouri State’s Stokes hit the second-longest punt in Bear grid history as he boomed a 75-yarder on his first kick of the day.
Having finished on the road for the year, Missouri State has its final three games at Plaster Field, starting with a Homecoming visit by Indiana State for a Gateway clash next Saturday (Oct. 27) at 1:30 p.m.