Salukis get burned in final seconds at WIU

By Gus Bode

Junior running back Jewel Hampton tries to avoid a tackle while moving the ball down the field Saturday at Western Illinois University. With the game tied and 26 seconds left on the clock, the Leathernecks pick up an interception for the win and a 27-21 final score. SIU Athletics Department

The Salukis had another dramatic final-minute finish but ended on the losing side this time.

SIU (2-2,1-1 Missouri Valley Football Conference) gave up a 77-yard touchdown pass with only 26 seconds remaining in Saturday’s game for a 27-21 loss against Western Illinois University (2-3, 1-1 MVFC).


The Salukis had trouble with WIU’s passing offense throughout the game, as junior quarterback Josh Hudson mostly operated a no-huddle offense and exposed the SIU defense for 304 passing yards and four touchdowns.

The game-winning pass was caught by senior wide receiver Terriun Crump, a player described by senior safety Mike McElroy as having big-play capabilities. The Salukis limited Crump to five catches in the game, but couldn’t control his power or speed as he finished the game with 163 yards and two touchdowns.

McElroy said the Saluki defense did not take advantage of its opportunities, and the loss stemmed from allowing too many big plays early in the game.

“When it comes down to it, we just didn’t execute,” McElroy said. “We either missed the coverage or missed the call.”

The Leathernecks debunked the Saluki defense with five passes for at least 20 yards.

“Our offense fought back and put us in the game,” McElroy said. “All we really had to do was hold up and play for overtime, but that didn’t happen.”

The one responsible to fight for the Saluki offense was sophomore quarterback Kory Faulkner, who stepped in after junior starting quarterback Paul McIntosh suffered a left-shoulder injury in the second quarter. Coach Dale Lennon said the extent of McIntosh’s injury has not been determined.


This was Faulkner’s second appearance of the season, after a short stint during the Sept. 24 game against Missouri State. He finished Saturday’s game with 12 completions for 143 yards in 23 attempts, with one touchdown and one interception.

Faulkner said the tight competition for the starting position beofore the season helped him prepare mentally and physically for the time he spent on the field Saturday.

“Going through fall camp and getting to go against our defense definitely helps,” Faulkner said. “Being out there and getting in for the huddle and just knowing the offensive line: everybody’s behind me.”

The person behind Faulkner the most in the backfield was junior running back Jewel Hampton, who again led the Salukis in the rushing offense. Hampton rushed for 146 yards, averaging 6.6 yards per carry, and finished with two touchdowns.

Overall, Lennon said it was a disappointing loss because his team battled after an early deficit and had a chance to stay undefeated in the Missouri Valley conference.

“We just didn’t have that consistency that we needed on the course of the game,” Lennon said. “There were times where we had the opportunities to make plays, to be in a position to flex our muscles, but we never really gave ourselves a chance to do that.”

Joe Ragusa contributed to this article.