Two Salukis lead MVFC in tackles

By Thomas Donley, @tdonleyDE

Statistically, SIU’s defense is one of the worst in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, but it has two of the Valley’s top tacklers. 

The Salukis are second-to-last in the MVFC in total defense and scoring defense. Junior inside linebacker Chase Allen leads the conference in tackles with 51. Sophomore free safety Kenny James is tied for second with Western Illinois sophomore linebacker Brett Taylor with 45. 

SIU has allowed 31.2 points and 469 yards per game. Only Missouri State, at 50.5 points and 517 yards, is worse. Youngstown State’s defense has been the best, allowing 16.2 points and 243.8 yards per contest. 

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Allen is also 10th in the MVFC with 4.5 tackles for loss. He said the numbers do not satisfy him, and they can be misleading.

“Numbers haven’t won us any games, so it’s not a big deal,” Allen said. “Watching film, you can have a lot of tackles, but there’s a lot more plays you could’ve made. During the SEMO game, I had 19 tackles, but after watching film I didn’t feel like I had a very good game. I could have made a lot more impact plays.”

James leads all MVFC defensive backs in tackles. The next closest defensive back is Illinois State sophomore safety Alec Kocour, with 36.

SIU defensive coordinator David Elson said the popularity of the spread offense in college football is a factor in James having so many tackles at safety.

“It’s not a good thing, typically,” Elson said. “But in this day and age, you see it more and more because the ball is out on the perimeter more, so the safeties are more involved.”

SIU’s third-leading tackler is senior safety D.J. Cameron, who is tied for 17th in the Valley with 26.

Thomas Donley can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3311

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