Run game vital in SIU vs. ISU matchup

By Thomas Donley, @tdonleyDE

The SIU football team has run a gauntlet of ranked opponents on its home schedule this season, with a record of 3-1 at Saluki Stadium. 

That run concludes Saturday when it hosts No. 6 Illinois State.

SIU (3-6, 2-4 Missouri Valley Football Conference) is 2-1 against ranked opponents at Saluki Stadium this year. The Dawgs will need to find a way to shore up a porous run defense to pull off another upset. 

Advertisement

The Redbirds (7-2, 5-1) feature senior running back Marshaun Coprich who leads all MVFC rushers with 1,205 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. 

The Saluki run defense gives up 217.4 yards per game, 16th most in the Football Championship Subdivision and second most in the Valley.

In its six losses this year, SIU has allowed an average of 254.3 rushing yards per game. In three wins, the Salukis have given up 143.7. 

Illinois State’s offense is multi-dimensional and can also take to the air. Junior wide receiver Anthony Warrum is third in FCS with 1,031 receiving yards. His 13 touchdown catches are third nationally. 

ISU’s run defense has been effective this season against mobile quarterbacks such as SIU senior Mark Iannotti. He is second in the conference and seventh overall, averaging 62.4 rushing yards a game. 

The Redbirds shut down two mobile quarterbacks — Northern Iowa junior Aaron Bailey and Indiana State sophomore Matt Adam — this season en route to wins. ISU held them to nine and 16 yards respectively. 

Bailey averages 81.9 yards a game, third in the conference for all players, and Adam averages 41.7. 

SIU’s second-leading rusher, freshman running back Daquan Isom, is serving a suspension. Junior running back Aaron Stanton and freshman running back Jonathan Mixon combined for 115 yards on 15 carries Nov. 7 in a 34-31 loss at South Dakota. 

Thomas Donley can be reached at [email protected] or at 618-536-3307

Advertisement