SIU takes it easy
After 11 straight weeks of football, the SIU football team will finally get some – and a lot of it. Good because the Salukis need it, says Salukis head coach Jerry Kill.
Last week. Kill said his team was as banged up as it’s ever been. Let the healing begin.
The football team did not practice Monday, will not practice today or tomorrow, and will only be together for 45 minutes Thursday.
The rest could not have come at a better time. Starting cornerback Brandon Bruner is still convalescing, as is starting linebacker Tony Rinella, who was on crutches Saturday because of a sprained ankle.
Running backs Arkee Whitlock and Craig Turner did not play Saturday, but with the week off, should be fully healed come playoff time.
“They’ll be ready to go in the playoffs, and they’ll be fresh-legged and ready,” Kill said.
SIU’s thumping of Indiana State Saturday set two new school scoring records – one for most points scored in a regular season, and one for least points allowed in a regular season.
Playing one less game, the 2004 Salukis shattered the regular season offensive mark of 437 set by the 2003 team, accumulating 480 points during 11 games. For those of you keeping track, that’s a ridiculous 43.6 points per game.
The previous record for least points allowed was held by the 1983 team, a stingy 157 points. The 2004 defense gave up just 123 points this season, allowing 11.2 points per game.
No. 1, as usual
SIU was the No. 1 team for the ninth straight week, taking nearly every first place vote.
James Madison and Sam Houston State, who were up with SIU as far as power rankings go, both lost and dropped significantly.
Undefeated Harvard, for the first time this year, received a first-place vote despite being ranked No. 13.
Indiana State head coach Tim McGuire will not be back next year, making his team’s 59-10 loss to SIU Saturday the final game of his Sycamore career.
The school will allow McGuire’s contract to expire after he compiled a 24-55 record in seven years.
Kill still sees room for improvement
If Indiana State thought SIU was good Saturday, the Sycamores may not have seen anything yet.
Despite its 268-52 margin of victory the last six games, Kill said his team is continuing to improve, as displayed with Saturday’s passing game fireworks.
“I keep telling you we’re getting better, and we’re going to continue to get better,” Kill said.
Saturday was a breakout night for senior running back Terry Jackson, but Antione Jackson, as he has done a few times this season, made a statement as well.
Jackson was second on the team in rushing Saturday, despite playing only a quarter. He picked up 102 yards on just 10 carries, stiff-arming larger defenders and face-planting them.
“He’s a great runner,” said the other Jackson, who picked up 95 yards on 14 carries. “I love watching Antione play and watching him get in there because he’s going to punish whoever he’s running against.”
A few final regular season tallies:SIU 480, the opposition 123
SIU rushers 3,105 yards, opposing rushers 1,089
SIU passing 2,465, opposing passers 1,995
SIU offense 5,570, opposing offenses 3,084