Salukis lose to Ole Miss, allow 21 points in six minutes

By Gus Bode

Junior nose tackle Kayon Swanson, left, and senior safety Mike McElroy, right, tackle a Rebel during the SIU-Ole Miss football game Saturday in Oxford, Miss. After giving up three touchdowns in the first six minutes, SIU rallied, scoring one touchdown in the first half and two in the second. SIU lost the game with a final score of 42-24. Brooke Grace | Daily Egyptian

Week two of the SIUC regular football season brought the team to a .500 record as it lost to the Southeastern Conference powerhouse Mississippi.

SIUC (1-1) lost to Ole Miss (1-1) 42-24 Saturday in Oxford, Miss., despite having more total yards on offense and giving up four turnovers. The defense worked overtime as interceptions plagued the Saluki offense in Saturday’s contest.


Coach Dale Lennon said it was a troublesome start for the team, as minimal mistakes were required to win against the SEC team. He said it was a tough loss for him and his players because they think they could’ve come out ahead.

“It took a while for us to settle into the type of game we needed to play,” Lennon said. “To give up 21 points in the first five minutes is a team’s worst nightmare.”

Ole Miss jumped off to an early 21-0 lead after it scored three quick touchdowns to start the game. The Salukis kicked a field goal, then manufactured an 80-yard drive at the end of the second quarter to cut the lead to 28-10 at the half. The drive was capped off by a two-yard touchdown rush by junior running back, Jewel Hampton.

“We thought we could take some shots and make some big pass plays down the field,” Lennon said. “Offensively, I know we have the tools to be successful.”

The Salukis outscored the Rebels in the final three quarters 24-21 but were unable to come back from the early deficit.

Junior quarterback Paul McIntosh cut the Rebels lead to 11 with touchdown passes to sophomore fullback Rik Hicks and senior wide receiver Cam Fuller. However, the Salukis’ offense was shut down in the final six minutes of the game.

Junior running back Steve Strother said the Rebels’ early lead was tough to overcome and it wasn’t the way the team anticipated the game to start.


“It’s not the start you want,” Strother said. “They jumped on us real quick.”

He said the Salukis’ offensive line was effective in opening up gaps, which resulted in the team’s run game success.

Strother finished as the leading rusher with 116 of the Salukis’ 197 yards on the ground. McIntosh added 80 rushing yards for the Salukis’ offensive production.

SIUC finished with 420 total offensive yards and held the Rebels’ offense to 315 yards.

Junior outside linebacker Jayson DiManche said the size of the Rebels’ offensive line was a factor for the Saluki defense, however it was able to use its speed effectively throughout the game. He said the team also had a lot of missed tackles, an area the team will continue to improve on.

“At first we really wanted to stop the run and then we wanted to get after the (quarterback) like we always do,” DiManche said. “They were doing a pretty good job blocking us off the edge, but we were doing a lot of pushing up the middle.”

The Salukis have two weeks of practice before the home opener against Missouri State at 7 p.m. Sept. 24 at Saluki Stadium.