Southern Illinois loses in a heartbreaker to Kansas State

By Cole Daily, Staff Reporter

SIU lost to Kansas State in a tight contest, where the Salukis led at halftime on Saturday night.

Kansas State started the game by driving down the field, and sophomore running back Deuce Vaughn ran it for a four yard touchdown.

SIU started the game with a six yard run by sophomore running back Justin Strong. However, sophomore quarterback Nic Baker threw an interception in the preceding play, marking SIU’s first turnover of the game.


However, immediately after, sophomore safety Clayton Bush intercepted the ball from senior quarterback Skylar Thompson.

Thompson suffered a lower body injury after attempting to block for Vaughn on a running play. He would not return to the game. Kansas State then made the score 14-0 after a quarterback run by sophomore quarterback Will Howard.

The Salukis then converted two fourth down opportunities on a drive that led to a field goal. This drive included 16 plays for 75 yards to make the score 14-3.

Early in the second quarter, Wildcats’ Vaughn took the ball to the house a second time, making the score 21-3.

The Salukis then forced two fumbles from the Wildcats – one by Vaughn, and then another at the hands of Howard. After the first fumble, the Salukis converted the turnover by scoring after Javon Williams ran it in for their first touchdown of the game.

The Salukis were unable to convert a 2-point conversion after the touchdown, making the score 21-9.

Williams scored again after a punt by the Wildcats at 4:14 left in the half. The score became 21-16, Wildcats with the lead.


SIU continued this run by capping it off with a pick six by sophomore cornerback PJ Jules. This gave the Salukis the lead that they took into halftime.

Head Coach Nick Hill said he was incredibly impressed with how the defense was able to take the ball away from their opponents. The Salukis forced four turnovers in the game.

“I can’t say it enough…the effort from Coach Petrino in having those players ready to roll. They (the defense) play with a ton of passion and effort,”Coach Hill said.

At halftime, SIU held the momentum, and it looked like SIU could take control of the game from there. However, the Wildcats defense made the right adjustments heading out of the break.

Kansas State took the lead in the third quarter with a field goal, making the score 24-23 at the 5:56 mark.

Early in the fourth quarter, SIU missed a field goal in an opportunity to retake the lead.

The Wildcats gave SIU an opportunity to score at 7:15 in the 4th quarter, but the Salukis weren’t able to capitalize.

Kansas State then drove the ball down the field, and Vaughn ran it in at the 1:57 mark. This gave him his third touchdown of the game and made the score 31-23.

Southern Illinois got the ball back, with an opportunity to send the game to overtime. This was derailed by the Kansas State defense, where they forced a fumble with 19 seconds left in the game.

Williams said the Kansas State defense was a lot to handle in the second half.

“The defense came out with a good plan, and we just didn’t reach out and get what we wanted. That happens in football and we’re just gonna try and learn from it to get better,” Williams said.

Quarterback Nic Baker totaled 176 yards with 0 touchdowns, one interception, and a fumble. Williams helped the Salukis with 46 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Senior wideout Landon Lenoir led the team with 63 yards and six receptions.

For Kansas State, Vaughn had a great game, totalling 125 yards from scrimmage and 3 rushing touchdowns.

Head Coach Nick Hill said he was proud of how his players performed in front of a Power five opponent like Kansa State.

“Proud of our guys’ effort, I think I can say that every day, practice or game…this one makes me sick to my stomach. It makes me feel we should’ve won that football game, “ Hill said, “I really can’t say enough about how outstanding of a job our defense did tonight.”

The Salukis hope to bounce back in their next game against Dayton University on September 18th at 6 pm. This will be the Salukis first home game of the year.

Sports Reporter Cole Daily can be reached at [email protected]

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