7 takeaways from SIU football’s 27-24 loss to SEMO

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7 takeaways from SIU football’s 27-24 loss to SEMO

By Aaron Graff, @Aarongraff_DE

1. Senior quarterback Mark Iannotti is inconsistent

When he’s good, he’s good. Iannotti wasn’t named STATS National co-Offensive Player of the Week and MVFC co-Offensive Player of the Week for no reason last week. He has been running way better than last season, his short passes are accurate and even some of his long ones make you wonder why he is not at the Football Bowl Subdivision level. But his untimely, ugly turnovers show him lacking the clutch aspect. Last season he subbed for this reason and only started 10 of the 12 games.

2. Turnovers are problematic for SIU

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It goes without saying. Turnovers are bad. They lose games. The Dawgs have turned the ball over nine times this season and have not forced one yet. That needs to stop if SIU wants to win.

3. The Salukis will not win (m)any games

It’s hard to tell anything off of two weeks. But the Missouri Valley Football Conference is equivalent to the Southeastern Conference of the FCS — in other words, it’s really good. Western Illinois and Missouri State are both realistic wins for the Salukis, but so was Southeast Missouri State. If SIU cannot beat SEMO, it will struggle beating anyone else.

4. SEMO is on the rise in the rivalry

Football fans have short memories and when one team dominates a rivalry, the other team gets written off. Before Saturday, SIU won four straight against the Redhawks. However, SEMO leads the rivalry 38-35-8. SIU graduated its best talent last year and has to rebuild before they go on another winning streak.

5. Salukis will use a lot of read option plays

It’s good to make changes to the playbook when some things don’t work and different players start. Whether it’s good or bad, the Salukis are running many read option plays per game. It seemed to work early against SEMO, but when they caught on, Iannotti was getting stuffed frequently.

6. Injuries could be an issue

Injuries are common in football. The Salukis had three scares in the game, including punter Derek Mathewson. The only other punter, Nicholas Neidig, did not dress for the game. There obviously has to be a punter on the team. Luckily, Mathewson walked around after the game. Nose tackle Raysean Golden also had a scare, but he walked off the field on his own and returned to the game. Saluki fans rejoice, Golden is too important to lose. Freshman inside-linebacker Tori Millender left in the first half and came back with a walking boot on his left foot. He did not return to the game, but the Salukis cannot afford to lose starters of any position if they are going to play these close games. 

7. Salukis need fan support

The Dawgs thrived when the Saluki fans who traveled made some noise. Granted, it was a road game for the Dawgs, but the SEMO fans outweighed SIU fans. Saluki fans asked other Saluki fans to sit down in crucial moments. “S-I-U” chants were seldom. It all starts with the way the game is going, but if fans want to see their team win, they have to be more into the game at crucial moments.

Aaron Graff can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @Aarongraff_DE 

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