By: Steve Maves
Saturday night at Saluki Stadium went better than planned for the Southern Illinois Salukis as they were able to win the home opener 34-13 over #10 Liberty Flames.
The Salukis were coming off of two heart-breaking defeats at the hands of the Indiana Hoosiers in week 1 and Southeastern Missouri State in week 2. Coming home to play a game against one of the top football teams in the FCS and win was exactly what the Salukis needed.
SIU quarterback Mark Iannotti stated, “It was a big win for our football team, the university, and the community.”
A win for the community is what they received, not only did the Salukis win, but they also raised $31,778 dollars for cancer research in the 5th annual Black Out Cancer game. Along with the Black Out Caner game it was also Family Night and that also helped draw the large crowed of 11,887. Off the field SIU was a winner, but also on the field the team took care of business.
For most of the first half the Flames controlled the ball, which made it tough for the SIU offense to get going early. With the number six-offense team in the country on the sidelines the Salukis defense needed to step up in a big way and that is what they did. They held the Flames to just 6 point in the first half and a huge turnover and allowing the offense to kick into gear when they got the ball.
In the first quarter SIU only had one possession that resulted in a field goal, but after the teams switched sides at the end of the quarter it was all Salukis. After another field goal by Austin Johnson the defense was able to get pressure on quarterback Josh Woodrum and forced a fumble inside the Flames 10 yard line. From that fumble SIU was able to punch it in for a touchdown and later in the quarter Daquan Isom blasted through an opening for a 49 yard touchdown to put SIU up 20-6 going to halftime.
Coming out in the second half SIU drove the ball down the field and scored to put them up 27-6. There was no looking back for the Salukis as they were able to shutdown the Flames offense the rest of the night and force quarterback Josh Woodrum to commit another fumble and they scored on that as well. Final score SIU 34 Liberty Flames 13.
482 total yards including 255 rushing yards, and 227 passing yards.
They won the turnover battles 2-1 and were 6 for 11 in third down conversions.
Mark Iannotti passing: 19 of 24, 208 yards. Rushing: 9 rushes for 56 yards and 1 touchdown.
Daquan Isom rushing: 10 carries for 123 yards and 1 touchdown (WIDB Player of the Game)
Billy Reed receiving: 5 catches for 87 yards
Kenny James defense: 16 tackles including 4 solo tackles.
368 total yards including 81 rushing yards and 287 passing yards.
They held the ball for 32 minutes and finished 10 for 19 on third down conversions.
Josh Woodrum passing: 26 of 47 for 277 yards, two fumbles lost
B.J. Farrow receiving: 8 catches for 101 yards
Avery James defense: 15 tackles including 4 solo tackles.
SIU heads to 1-2 on the season and will head to Western Illinois to play the Leathernecks next Saturday.
Liberty falls to 2-2 on the season, as they will play Georgia State at the Georgia dome next Saturday.