Salukis, Sycamores renew rivalry for 52nd time

By Thomas Donley

SIU and Indiana State will write a new chapter in their football rivalry as they take the gridiron for the 52nd time.

The two universities have a dynamic history on the field. With the record at 27-24, the all-time series has been close, with a slight edge to the Salukis.

The series is the second closest for any opponent SIU has faced at least 50 times. Only the rivalry with Southeast Missouri State, at 34-37-8, is closer.

Advertisement

Some games between SIU and Indiana State have been as tight as the series itself, while others have been blowouts. There have been stretches when the two teams were evenly matched, and each side has had periods of prolonged success against the other.

Of the 51 games between the Salukis and Sycamores, 15 have been decided by seven points or fewer. Indiana State holds a 9-6 advantage in those games.

Conversely, 16 games have been decided by 21 points or more. The Salukis have won 11 such games.

The Sycamores played their first football game in 1896, and the Saluki program started in 1913. However, the two schools did not meet until 1944. The rivalry has been renewed annually since 1971.

The two schools have played each other twice in the same season on two separate occasions. The first time was in 1949, during a time when schools often played home-and-home series with nearby programs to fill out their schedules. That year, each school won its home game in the series.

The second time the Salukis faced Indiana State twice in one year was during the greatest season in Saluki football history. SIU defeated the Sycamores twice en route to the NCAA Division I-AA National Championship in 1983. The Salukis picked up a 34-21 regular season victory at ISU, and a 23-7 victory in the first round of the playoffs at home 49 days later.

From 1985-1990, each team won three games. Three points or fewer decided four of those six contests.

Advertisement

1990 started a four-game winning streak for the Salukis over the Sycamores. ISU won the next nine games, including a 52-3 drubbing of SIU in 1995. At that point, that game was the series’ biggest blowout since the inaugural contest, which Indiana State won 55-6 in Terre Haute.

The Salukis turned the tables in 2003 with a 37-14 win that started a nine-year win streak for SIU over Indiana State. Between 2006 and 2009, the Salukis outscored the Sycamores 220-20.

The two schools have split the last two meetings. Indiana State picked up a 24-3 win at Saluki Stadium in 2012. The Salukis went into Terre Haute and beat the Sycamores 31-9 in the final game of the regular season last year.

At 6 p.m., the Salukis will try to beat Indiana State for the 11th time in 12 years, while the Sycamores will look to beat SIU for the second time in three years.

Both teams need to win three more games to be playoff eligible and have little to no margin for error.

Thomas can be reached at [email protected]on Twitter @tdonleydeor at 536-3311

Advertisement