Daily Egyptian

South Dakota State’s offense too much for SIU football, Salukis lose 45-39

Saluki+football+coach+Nick+Hill+confronts+a+referee+during+the+Salukis%27+45-39+loss+to+South+Dakota+State+at+Saluki+Stadium+while+junior+offensive+lineman+Austin+Olsen+looks+on.
Saluki football coach Nick Hill confronts a referee during the Salukis' 45-39 loss to South Dakota State at Saluki Stadium while junior offensive lineman Austin Olsen looks on.

Saluki football coach Nick Hill confronts a referee during the Salukis' 45-39 loss to South Dakota State at Saluki Stadium while junior offensive lineman Austin Olsen looks on.

Saluki football coach Nick Hill confronts a referee during the Salukis' 45-39 loss to South Dakota State at Saluki Stadium while junior offensive lineman Austin Olsen looks on.

By Jonathan Thompson

SIU football lost its second game in a row Saturday, losing to South Dakota State at home 45-39 and dropping its record to 2-3.

Offense stole the show for both teams as they combined for 1,092 total yards. The game was a shootout as 877 yards came through the air.

“We moved the ball and were efficient but sometimes in a shootout it comes down to who has the ball last,” SIU coach Nick Hill said. “We weren’t able to swing it back in our favor. Ultimately, they did what they had to.”

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Jackrabbit junior running back Brady Mengarelli (44) goes to the ground as Saluki junior safety Ryan Neal (21) and junior inside linebacker Markese Jackson try to dodge him during the first half of the Salukis' 45-39 loss to South Dakota State on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016, at Saluki Stadium. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

SIU had no answer for sophomore quarterback Taryn Christion, who broke SDSU’s single-game passing yard record with 466 yards, along with five touchdowns and no interceptions.

The Salukis weren’t able to force any turnovers but played well on third down as they only allowed their opponents to convert four times on 14 attempts.

The Jackrabbits came out firing on the opening drive as junior Dallas Goedert rushed for a 17-yard touchdown to put SDSU up.

SIU sophomore starting running back Daquan Isom went down in the first quarter with an ankle injury. But junior Jonathan Mixon was able to fill his place and scored the Salukis’ first touchdown, tying the score at seven.

Mixon finished the game with two touchdowns and 37 rushing yards.

Senior quarterback Josh Straughan found Connor Iwema in the end zone late in the second quarter. Straughan finished with 380 touchdowns, two touchdowns and one interception.

After two unanswered touchdowns by sophomore wide receiver Jimmy Jones late in the third quarter, the Salukis trimmed a 17-point deficit down to three, but SIU was never able to take the lead.

Redshirt freshman kicker Chase Vinatieri’s 33-yard field goal propelled the Jackrabbits’ lead to 45-39 with 2:15 remaining in the game.

Back-to-back sacks by sophomore defensive lineman Blake Whitsell and senior defensive lineman Cole Langer ended SIU’s final drive to solidify the Jackrabbits’ victory.

“We have to be better,” Straughan said. “It may be on me. I took two sacks in under two minutes. That’s not putting us in the best position to score doing stuff like that, I have to be better.”

SIU will look to get back on track at 6 p.m. on on Oct. 15 against Illinois State in Normal.

Staff writer Jonathan Thompson can be reached at [email protected].

To stay up to date with all your SIU sports news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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