Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Vinson Davis III (11) runs the ball down the field towards the end zone which resulted in the second touchdown for SIU against the Bears of Missouri State Sept. 30, 2023 at Saluki Stadium in Carbondale, Illinois.
Start fast, finish strong; SIU football pounds Missouri State 33-20 to mark best start since 2007
By Joey Bernard, Graduate Assistant • September 30, 2023

Through four games, the No. 10 Saluki football team (4-0, 1-0 MVC) remains perfect following Saturday’s 33-20 beatdown on the Missouri State...

Jacqueline Crain is hit with a cloud of color after she crosses the finish line first at the third annual Color Fun Run hosted by the School of Health Sciences Sept. 29, 2023 at the Campus Lake in Carbondale, Illinois.
School of Health Sciences hosts third annual "Color Fun Run"
September 30, 2023

The School of Health and Human Sciences hosted it's third annual "Color Fun Run" on Friday. Participants ran or walked a 2.2 mile course around...

Tim Kratochvil accepts his Saluki Hall of Fame enshrinement on Oct. 18, 2019 in Carbondale, Illinois.
Remembering "Mr. Incredible" Tim Kratochvil, Saluki Hall of Famer and Pawnee schools superintendent
By Ryan Grieser, Staff Reporter • September 28, 2023

Tim Kratochvil was, above all else, a Saluki. The Saluki Hall of Famer and longtime public schools administrator in Pawnee, Illinois, passed...

Another FBS opponent, another victory: Defense shines bright in win over Huskies

Chris Harris Jr. (5) and Jacob Garrett (43) leads the team onto the field through the tunnel, carrying the Saluki and American flag, kicking off the game against SEMO Redhawks for the War Of The Wheel Sept. 10, 2022 at Saluki Stadium in Carbondale, Ill.

Down go the Huskies 14-11.

Two years in a row now, the Salukis have defeated yet another Football Bowl Subdivision team on their schedule. In a statement performance by defensive coordinator Antonio James, the Saluki defense kept Northern Illinois University (1-1) scoreless into the third quarter, and held the Huskies to just 11 points total to move to 2-0 on the young season.

Despite allowing nearly 400 total yards on offense, the Dawgs defense came when it mattered most. They forced three interceptions, including one by junior safety Ubayd Steed in the final minute of regulation to seal the deal.


Desman Hearns and Mark Davis also had picks of their own on separate occasions. The defense also took down NIU quarterback Rocky Lombardi for four different sacks with senior defensive end Tim Varga leading the charge with two.

It wasn’t the prettiest day for the Saluki offense, but no huge turnovers were given up either as the Dawgs won the turnover battle 3-0. Quarterback Nic Baker was put under pressure throughout the whole game, with five separate sacks. Baker finished completing 16 of his 24 passes for 168 yards passing. He rushed for a touchdown to break open the scoring late in the first.

Senior running back Ro Elliot led the charge on offense for the Dawgs, with 81 total yards from scrimmage. Elliot rushed for 58 yards off nine attempts, including a 10-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter. Elliot caught two more for 23 yards as well. Junior tight end Aiden Quinn led the Salukis in receiving yards with 51, but it was sophomore wide receiver Vinson Davis who saw the most targets from Baker with five receptions and 46 receiving yards.

After stalling at midfield on their first drive, NIU forced a three-and-out by the Salukis at their own three-yard line to force a short punt that gave the Huskies the ball on the SIU side of the field to start. After gaining a first down on the first play, a false start by NIU pushed them behind and forced NIU to go for a field goal from 47 yards out. Husky kicker Jake Seibert would miss to keep it scoreless and give Southern the ball back at its own 30-yard line.

The Saluki offense responded with a five-play drive to take the lead thanks to Baker’s 40-yard pass to Quinn over the middle to get to the Husky red zone. Two plays later Baker would run it in for his score.

On the next drive heading into the second quarter, another promising NIU drive ended up with nothing to show for it after Seibert missed yet another field goal for the Huskies. This one is from 42 yards away.

Getting late into the half, Lombardi was dicing to make for a late push to tie it all up before halftime. He completed 4 passes in a row for 48 yards and rushed for eight more before throwing a pick to Davis with less than thirty seconds left of the half. The defense went into the locker room with a shutout in the back of their minds.


Coming out of the break, the Dawgs forced another three-and-out for NIU to put the ball back in Baker’s hands, for which he would lead a quick 2-minute and 48-second drive to double their lead to 14-0.

The Huskies would lead another long and promising drive into the Saluki red zone but would be stopped short at the 10-yard line after PJ Jules stepped in for a tipped pass and force another NIU field goal attempt, only this time Seibert would nail it from 27 yards out to make it 14-3.

The Salukis would stall on their next drive, not even gaining a single yard before freshman punter Nathan Torney drilled a 64-yard punt to stuff the NIU offense at their own one-yard line. However, that wouldn’t matter much this time, as Lombardi would lead a nine-play, 99-yard drive to cut the deficit to a field goal with 14 minutes to go at 14-11.

Another three-and-out for the Dawgs offense ensued, but Hearns would bail out the Dawgs on the next NIU drive with an interception on the second play from scrimmage. A third three-and-out by the Dawgs would occur, followed by a turnover on downs for the Huskies at midfield.

The Dawgs positioned themselves at the NIU 24-yard line to go up by 6 with another field goal, but junior kicker Thomas Burks missed wide to prevent the much-needed insurance for the Salukis.

Down to the last two minutes of play and the Huskies with possession starting in Saluki territory, Steed would come up with the play of the day and pick off Lombardi on 2nd and 12 to seal the deal and send SIU home with a win.

The Dawgs will look to take back the Wheel next week as they head to Cape Girardeau on Saturday, Sept. 16 for their next matchup against SEMO (1-1) in the War for the Wheel rivalry. That game will start with a 6 p.m. kickoff.


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    BrentSep 10, 2023 at 5:24 pm

    Great win! Great Story!