The SIU football team turned the ball over seven times Saturday in a 27-24 loss at Southeast Missouri State.
Junior wide receiver Billy Reed said the Salukis’ sloppy play was too much to overcome.
“No matter how good your offense is, if you turn the ball over that many times, you shouldn’t win a football game,” Reed said. “Tonight, we didn’t deserve to win the game.”
Redhawk junior kicker Tyler McCrum missed three straight field goals, but good field position helped his team set him for redemption.
SEMO took over at the Saluki 49-yard line with 52 seconds left in regulation after SIU (0-2) punted deep in its own territory. McCrum’s 42-yard field goal with five seconds remaining gave SEMO (1-1) its first win.
SIU gave up the ball four times in the first half, on two interceptions by senior quarterback Mark Iannotti and two fumbles by sophomore wide receiver Connor Iwema.
SEMO scored both its first half touchdowns on defense, returning an interception and fumble.
Iannotti threw two touchdown passes and ran for another in the first half. His 18-yard throw to freshman wide receiver Darrell James with 29 seconds remaining in the first half gave SIU its first lead of the game.
SEMO junior quarterback Tay Bender orchestrated a 9-play, 64-yard drive late in the third quarter that culminated in a 13-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Paul McRoberts.
The Redhawks’ first offensive touchdown of the night tied the score at 24, where it remained for most of the fourth quarter.
McCrum’s field goal put SEMO on top and gave SIU one last chance to win on a kickoff return. Freshman returner Matt DeSomer fumbled on a lateral pass as time expired, keeping the Salukis winless this season.
Iannotti finished the game 26-38 for 294 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Bender was 16-29 for 159 yards and one touchdown.
Redhawk junior running back DeMichael Jackson finished with a game-high 186 yards on 30 carries.
Reed led all receivers with 112 yards on six catches.
Thomas Donley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @tdonleyDE.