Salukis ready to avenge loss after bye week

By Gus Bode

While the SIU football team wants to win every game on its schedule, it has an extra incentive to win the Homecoming match-up with Missouri State Saturday.

Not only is the game the conference opener for the Salukis on their home turf but SIU will finally have a chance to avenge a 34-28 loss to Western Michigan after spending last week in a bye.

Senior linebacker Royal Whitaker said it was tough to take off a week after a loss, but the bye was needed to allow injured players to heal and prepare for the conference opener.

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“It’s hard, but at the same time, it’s good because we were able to watch film and learn from our mistakes and make sure we correct those mistakes during practice,” Whitaker said.

While several players walked off the field at Western Michigan’s Waldo Stadium with dejected looks on their faces, Senior Micah Turner said it took little time to recover from the loss.

“It just depends on what type of mindset you take,” Turner said. “I just took it as, okay the game is over, lets get ready for the next game and try to put it in the past.”

After the West Michigan loss, SIU quarterback Joel Sambursky said he would like to go out the next day and redeem the loss and was not looking forward to the bye week. Sambursky said he has since said he has put the loss behind him and wants to start with a clean slate against Missouri State.

“We look at the season starting this week,” Sambusky said. “I want to win a third conference championship.”

Sambursky said he is excited to finally play again after a week off. With the non-conference schedule behind the Salukis, Sambursky said he wants to make an impact in the always competitive Gateway Conference.

“Our conference is really tough, and every game is so meaningful,” Sambursky said. “Being the first conference game you always want to start off on a good foot.”

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With all of the factors that would come out of a win Saturday, Turner said he doesn’t assign any special significance to the game even though it is Homecoming.

“It’s a big game, but every game is going to be a big game for us this year,” Turner said. “The first conference game we are going to come out and show everybody what we’re all about.”

Reporter William Ford can be reached at [email protected]

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