Daily Egyptian

Five takeaways from SIU’s 34-13 victory against No. 10 Liberty

By Thomas Donley, @tdonleyDE

1. This team is better than its record indicates

SIU football’s offense had a good day in week one at Indiana. In week two, the offense couldn’t help its stout defense. In the season’s third game, both pieces came together. After knocking off the nation’s No. 10 team on Saturday in the first home game of the season, the Salukis are a few turnovers and an unlucky dropped two-point conversion away from being 3-0 and among the top-25 teams in the Football Championship Subdivision.

2. Daquan Isom has arrived

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Sophomore running back Cameron Walter entered this season as the Salukis’ No. 1 running back. Walter did not touch the ball against Liberty and freshman Daquan Isom may have cemented his spot as the starter. Isom rushed for 123 yards and one touchdown, while adding another 29 receiving yards. Isom has led SIU in all-purpose yards every game this year. Saluki fans should be excited to watch him for the next few seasons.

3. The secondary can play … when it wants to 

The SIU defense gave up 277 yards through the air and could have easily allowed more if not for a few drops or poorly-thrown passes. However, sophomore cornerback Ryan Neal, redshirt freshman cornerback Jefferson Vea, senior safety D.J. Cameron and sophomore safety Kenny James came up with big plays. If the mostly-inexperienced defensive backfield can improve its consistency, Missouri Valley Football Conference offenses could be in for a long season against SIU. 

4. Special teams coach Keith Murphy is earning his keep

The Saluki kickoff coverage shut down Liberty’s return game. The Flames’ average starting position on kickoffs was its own 22.3-yard line. If you take out the kickoff pushed back 15-yards by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, the average start was the 18.8. A longer field makes scoring a lot harder. Liberty only found the end zone once and missed two long field goals.

5. This team needs to show up every week in the MVFC 

Coming into this game, six MVFC teams were ranked in the top-25. The Salukis will need to play a complete game like it did against Liberty every week in order to contend for a conference championship and a playoff berth. 

Thomas Donley can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3311 ext. 269.

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