Daily Egyptian

SIU football drops third straight game with loss to Illinois State

SIU+senior+quarterback+Josh+Straughan+runs+with+the+ball+during+the+Salukis%27+45-39+loss+to+South+Dakota+State+on+Saturday%2C+Oct.+8%2C+2016%2C+at+Saluki+Stadium.+%28Jacob+Wiegand+%7C+%40JacobWiegand_DE%29
SIU senior quarterback Josh Straughan runs with the ball during the Salukis' 45-39 loss to South Dakota State on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016, at Saluki Stadium. (Jacob Wiegand | @JacobWiegand_DE)

SIU senior quarterback Josh Straughan runs with the ball during the Salukis' 45-39 loss to South Dakota State on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016, at Saluki Stadium. (Jacob Wiegand | @JacobWiegand_DE)

SIU senior quarterback Josh Straughan runs with the ball during the Salukis' 45-39 loss to South Dakota State on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016, at Saluki Stadium. (Jacob Wiegand | @JacobWiegand_DE)

By Jonathan Thompson

The Saluki football team has yet to win a game in the Missouri Valley Football Conference this season as its losing streak continued with Saturday’s 31-28 loss to Illinois State.

It was SIU’s third straight loss and second by less than a touchdown.

SIU’s No. 2 pass offense was expected to be tested as Illinois State had the best pass defense in the MVFC. The Redbirds were true to their reputation as the Salukis completed only 60 percent of their passes on the game with one interception.

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Overall, SIU had 384 yards of total offense, its second-lowest mark this season. The total is just seven more than the team’s Oct. 1 loss to Northern Iowa.

The Salukis had big contributions from backup junior running back Cameron Walter in the first half. He had SIU’s only touchdown in the first half with a 29-yard rush, putting the Salukis up 7-0.

Walter finished with a team-high 72 yards rushing on 15 attempts and one touchdown.

Salukis celebrate a touchdown by junior running back Cameron Walter (22) during SIU's 50-17 win against Murray State on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, at Saluki Stadium. (Anna Spoerre | @annaspoerre)

Salukis celebrate a touchdown by junior running back Cameron Walter (22) during SIU’s 50-17 win against Murray State on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, at Saluki Stadium. (Anna Spoerre | @annaspoerre)

ISU scored two touchdowns in the first half. And in the final seconds of the second quarter, the Redbirds forced a fumble at the 1-yard line to keep their 14-10 lead.

The Salukis were able to tie the game with five minutes left in the third quarter as senior quarterback Josh Straughan found sophomore wide receiver Darrell James in the end zone. Then they scored a two point conversion, tying the score 21-21.

Straughan finished with 244 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

ISU would end the quarter with the lead again as sophomore quarterback Jake Kolbe connected with senior receiver Anthony Warrum, giving the Redbirds a 28-21 advantage.

Kolbe threw for 200 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.

The Salukis tried to fight back with a late touchdown pass from Straughan to James with less than two minutes to go.

Illinois State managed to hang on after recovering SIU’s onside kick. An offside penalty on fourth down put the nail in the coffin for SIU.

SIU looks to get its first conference win during the Salukis’ homecoming game against Indiana State at 2 p.m. Oct. 22 at Saluki Stadium.

Staff writer Jonathon Thompson can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @TheReal_Jt3.

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

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