Mo yards, Mo touchdowns, Mo records

By Gus Bode

Abdulqaadir totals 331 total yards and six touchdowns in first career start

In SIU’s 76-21 victory over Division II West Virginia Tech on Saturday night at McAndrew Stadium, fans may have noticed a difference from the Salukis of recent years.

That difference was that ole’ No. 24 Tom Koutsos wasn’t in the starting lineup, but was standing on the sidelines in street clothes.


However, by the end of a first half, in which junior Muhammad Abdulqaadir ran for 156 yards and three touchdowns, another thought was creeping into people’s heads.

In the first start of his SIU career, Abdulqaadir put his name in the school record books as he ran for 264 yards on 26 carries and five touchdowns and caught a 67-yard touchdown pass.

He ended the day with 331 total yards and six touchdowns as the Salukis evened their record at 2-2. For his efforts, Abdulqaadir was named the Gateway Conference’s Co-Offensive Player of the Week with Southwest Missouri State’s Zach Dechant.

The 264 yards was the second-highest mark in Saluki history behind only Andre Herrera’s 319 yards back in 1976. Abdulqaadir also tied Herrera’s mark for touchdowns in a game, which he set in the same game, with six.

Needing just one more touchdown to have the record to himself, Abdulqaadir was pulled from the game with five minutes and 32 seconds left in the third quarter with SIU up 55-21.

While some may have been angered at not getting the chance to see Abdulqaadir make history, he said he wasn’t even aware he had tied the record until after the fact.

“People kept commenting about it, but I’m not too worried about all of that; I just want to win,” Abdulqaadir said. “I would rather see my teammates play than to be a selfish type of person and play the whole game just trying to break a record.”


Even though he ran for the most yards at SIU since the mid-1970s, the 264 yards isn’t even Abdulqaadir’s career high.

During his playing days at Coffeyville College in Kansas, Abdulqaadir once ran for 381 yards against Fort Scott Community College.

Junior wide receiver Courtney Abbott was a teammate of Abdulqaadir at Coffeyville and said he wasn’t the least bit shocked by his dominating performance.

He said he was happy for Abdulqaadir, even though his opportunity to play came at the expense of a season-ending injury to Koutsos.

“I knew he could do it; I was just glad to see him step up and he had a great game,” Abbott said. “I think he’ll have a pretty good career here.”

Last weekend’s loss to Murray State was Abdulqaadir’s first chance to get extensive playing time since arriving at SIU, and he didn’t disappoint then either, rushing for 168 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries.

For the season, Abdulqaadir has rushed for 439 yards and seven touchdowns on 58 carries and is averaging 7.6 yards per rush. He currently leads the conference in rushing yards, all-purpose yards and scoring.

His success might shock some, but Abdulqaadir just says he’s doing what he’s supposed to do.

“Business as usual,” Abdulqaadir said. “It’s my job. Basically I get paid to do it, just not cash in hand. My scholarship’s my paycheck so I have to work. I just feel I’m doing my job.”

If Abdulqaadir keeps working like he has the past two games, he might not only be replacing Koutsos in the starting lineup – he might be replacing Koutsos in the record books.

Reporter Jens Deju can be reached at [email protected]