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

Lt. Col. Chay M. Derbigny will become commander and a professor of aerospace studies for Air Force ROTC Detachment 205 at 10 a.m. Friday, June 28, at Saluki Alumni Plaza, located between Woody and Pulliam halls on the SIU campus.
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Lt. Col. Chay M. Derbigny will soon take over as commander and professor of aerospace studies for Air Force ROTC Detachment 205 at Southern Illinois...

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NDSU puts Southern’s playoff hopes in jeopardy with 34-10 Saluki loss

Quarterback+Nic+Baker+%288%29+passes+the+ball+to+Running+Back+Javon+Williams+Jr.+%2815%29+as+Cole+Wisniewski+%2831%29+of+North+Dakota+approaches+Nov.+12%2C+2022+at+Saluki+Stadium+in+Carbondale+Illinois
Lylee Gibbs
Quarterback Nic Baker (8) passes the ball to Running Back Javon Williams Jr. (15) as Cole Wisniewski (31) of North Dakota approaches Nov. 12, 2022 at Saluki Stadium in Carbondale Illinois

Saluki football suffered a major blow to its potentially postseason standing on Saturday, dropping a 34-10 contest against the No. 12/13 North Dakota State Bison (7-3, 4-3) in Fargo, North Dakota.

The Bison charged ahead with a huge second half where they scored three touchdowns on offense and shut out the Salukis. Southern only managed to tally 60 yards of offense after the halftime break, while North Dakota State more than tripled that mark.

“Honestly, going into halftime, I felt pretty good about just where we were at in the game…” head coach Nick Hill said. “And then they just kinda wore us down, and really outplayed us in the second half.”

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Southern’s offense underwhelmed for the fourth time in its last six games, which correlates with its four losses this season. Across those losses, the team has combined for 30 total points, never scoring more than 10 in any one of those four games.

While the Saluki defense has managed to keep the team in those games for the most part, it struggled to stop the Bison on Saturday. Aside from a muffed punt late in the first half, the defense did not create a turnover, as North Dakota State scored on six of its nine meaningful drives.

“We were out there way too much on defense, and then just getting off the field,” Hill said. “We didn’t force them into many punts.”

The loss puts the Salukis at 6-4 on the year, tied with four other Missouri Valley Football Conference teams: Illinois State, North Dakota, Northern Iowa and Youngstown State. The latter holds a head-to-head win against Southern, which may be a determining factor in which team makes the playoffs.

A key separator for Southern is its FBS win against Northern Illinois, which boosts its resume. However, the Salukis have also suffered four conference losses, one more than its aforementioned conference rivals.

Currently, the Salukis have defeated every team they’ve played ranked below them in the MVFC standings, but have lost every game against teams ranked above them. This places the team in an awkward middle position, where it doesn’t compare favorably with teams it is fighting for a playoff spot against.

“All we can do is win next week,” junior linebacker Branson Combs said. “It’s kinda in the playoff committee’s hands at that point. This is one where we needed to get, to kinda write our own destiny.”

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The Valley is a tough schedule, and will likely have more playoff teams than any other conference in the Football Championship Subdivision. If Southern Illinois is to miss the playoffs, it will likely be one of the last teams left out.

The Salukis will host Indiana State next week in its final regular season game. The Sycamores picked up their first win on Saturday, defeating winless Western Illinois. While Indiana State will be a tougher matchup than its record may imply, the Salukis should take care of business on Senior Day.

“We’ve got to find a way to refresh our minds and get together and have a one-game season next week,” Hill said.

If so, their fate will be decided by the FCS playoff committee, which will announce the 24 teams to qualify for the postseason in a selection show on Nov. 19.

Sports editor Brandyn Wilcoxen can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @BrandynWilcoxen. To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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