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SIU football’s comeback bid against Youngstown State falls short

Coach+Nick+Hill+and+his+coaching+staff+watch+a+play+Saturday%2C+Nov.+5%2C+2016%2C+during+the+Salukis%27+35-28+win+over+the+University+of+South+Dakota+Coyotes+at+Saluki+Stadium.+%28Ryan+Michalesko+%7C+%40photosbylesko%29+
Coach Nick Hill and his coaching staff watch a play Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, during the Salukis' 35-28 win over the University of South Dakota Coyotes at Saluki Stadium. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

Coach Nick Hill and his coaching staff watch a play Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, during the Salukis' 35-28 win over the University of South Dakota Coyotes at Saluki Stadium. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

Ryan Michalesko

Ryan Michalesko

Coach Nick Hill and his coaching staff watch a play Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, during the Salukis' 35-28 win over the University of South Dakota Coyotes at Saluki Stadium. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

By Jonathan Thompson

SIU couldn’t ride the momentum of last week’s victory Saturday as it fell 21-14 to No. 15 Youngstown State.

The Salukis were 5 yards away from sending the game into overtime. SIU got the ball on its own 20 with 1:08 left, needing a touchdown to tie.

Sophomore quarterback Sam Straub led the offense down the field to the YSU 35 with five seconds left. He then threw to senior wide receiver Israel Lamprakes who would get dragged down at the 5-yard line to end the game.

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However, it took a bit of a comeback to get to that point.

The game looked bad for the Salukis from the start. They weren’t able to put up any points in the first half, but gave up two touchdowns, digging themselves into a 14-0 halftime deficit.

Youngstown’s running game was a problem for the Salukis as indicated by the Penguins’ 201 rushing yards as a team at the half.

SIU was able to adjust and slow down YSU’s running game holding it to just 99 in the second half. Penguin senior tailback Jody Webb led all players with 167 rushing yards on 21 runs.

Overall, the two offenses put up almost identical numbers overall. SIU tallied 429 yards of total offense on 77 plays while Youngstown totaled 426 yards on 75 plays.

Sophomore tailback Tevin McCaster would bully his way in from the 1-yard line for Youngstown’s first score of the game. YSU would add on to its lead four minutes later with a 10-yard strike from junior quarterback Hunter Wells to junior wide receiver Alvin Bailey.

The Salukis would play much better in the second half. Early in the fourth quarter, they were able to tie the score at 14-14 with 13:31 left in the game.

Sophomore running back Jonathan Mixon got the Salukis’ first score with a 3-yard run late in the third quarter. He would finish with just 3 yards and that one touchdown.

SIU struggled on the ground all day, gaining just 63 yards on 33 total attempts.

A 73-yard pass from Straub to Lamprakes in the fourth quarter would provide the momentum SIU needed to tie the game. A 9-yard pass from Straub to junior receiver Connor Iwema would punctuate the scoring drive.

Lamprakes had seven receptions for a career-high 156 yards but no touchdowns.

Straub had another impressive game in only his second start as a Saluki. He would finish with 366 yards passing and one touchdown.

Even with the momentum in SIU’s favor, they weren’t able to take the lead.

With four minutes left in the game, the Penguins would capitalize off of a bad punt that put them on the Saluki 49-yard line.

YSU took back the lead from a 10-yard pass from junior quarterback Hunter Wells to junior receiver Darien Townsend. That score would serve as the game winner.

Wells posted 124 yards passing and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

SIU will play its final game of the season at 2 p.m. Nov. 19 against Western Illinois at Saluki Stadium.

Staff writer Jonathan Thompson can be reached at jthompson@dailyegyptian.com or on Twitter @TheReal_Jt3.

To stay up to date with all your SIU football news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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