SIU football picks a starting quarterback (VIDEO)

SIU%E2%80%99s+Director+of+Broadcast+Operations+Mike+Reis+congratulates+newly-crowned+starting+quarterback+Josh+Straughan+alongside+senior+middle+linebacker+Chase+Allen+on+Wednesday%2C+Aug.+24%2C+2016%2C+at+Saluki+Stadium.+%28Athena+Chrysanthou+%7C+%40Chrysant1Athena%29
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SIU football picks a starting quarterback (VIDEO)

SIU’s Director of Broadcast Operations Mike Reis congratulates newly-crowned starting quarterback Josh Straughan alongside senior middle linebacker Chase Allen on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016, at Saluki Stadium. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

SIU’s Director of Broadcast Operations Mike Reis congratulates newly-crowned starting quarterback Josh Straughan alongside senior middle linebacker Chase Allen on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016, at Saluki Stadium. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

SIU’s Director of Broadcast Operations Mike Reis congratulates newly-crowned starting quarterback Josh Straughan alongside senior middle linebacker Chase Allen on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016, at Saluki Stadium. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

SIU’s Director of Broadcast Operations Mike Reis congratulates newly-crowned starting quarterback Josh Straughan alongside senior middle linebacker Chase Allen on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016, at Saluki Stadium. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

By Sean Carley

Ten days before the Salukis take the field against Florida Atlantic, the signal-caller has been chosen.

Coach Nick Hill named Josh Straughan as the starting quarterback after Wednesday’s practice, beating out sophomore Sam Straub.

“They’re both exactly what we want out of that quarterback position,” Hill said of Straughan and Straub. “Any time you lose sleep over making a decision … then that means two guys are doing a good job.”

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Straughan, a 6-foot-2 senior from Colton, Wash., is a graduate transfer from Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

While at Stillman, the new starter passed for 5,470 yards and 53 touchdowns in 24 games while earning First Team All-Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference recognition in 2014.

“It’s been a lot of hard work,” Straughan said. “It’s kind of an uphill battle as far as transferring here and learning the new system, but it’s always been a goal of mine to earn the starting spot so I was excited.”

Becoming the starter for SIU serves as a new step on Straughan’s road that started with 8-on-8 football in high school.

“It was a long journey,” he said. “Going to such a small school in high school and then going to Stillman to here. I’m just excited to be here and get the opportunity to lead these guys.”

Straughan beat out Straub, who appeared to be the next man up for the starting job at the end of last season after the graduation of seniors Mark Iannotti and Matt McIntosh.

Hill said there would still be some packages where Straub will get on the field.

“We actually told him yesterday and he’s had two really good practices,” Hill said of Straub. “I like the way that he’s responded and the way the team has responded.”

In the final scrimmage of the preseason, Straughan completed nine passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.

Iannotti’s shoes will be tough to fill after he led the Football Championship Subdivision in total offense, averaging 355 yards per game with 33 total touchdowns while being named to the quarterback of the All-Missouri Valley Football Conference team.

MORE: SIU running backs carrying big expectations

Straughan’s first start as a Saluki will be at 5 p.m. Sept. 3, in Boca Raton, Fla. against the Owls.

“We’ll all rally behind Josh,” Hill said of Straughan. “He’s done a really good job and that’s the way we’re gonna go.”

Sports editor Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @SCarleyDE.

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