Southern suffers first conference loss to South Dakota

By Adam Warfel, Sports Reporter

The SIU football team lost to the University of South Dakota 31-24 Saturday evening.

“Football is a game of inches,” sophomore linebacker Bryce Notree said. “You can’t expect to come out in one half of the game and expect to win the football game.”

South Dakota’s win against SIU win marked the 200th career win for head coach Bob Nielson of South Dakota.


Southern (1-3 MVFC 0-1)  was looking to rebound against South Dakota (2-2 MVFC 1-0) as the Dawgs and Coyotes were returning to action after their bye week. 

In the Salukis last game, they fell to SEMO 48-44 in the War of the Wheel game.

(See more: SIU falls to SEMO during War of the Wheel rivalry game)

Southern and South Dakota were both looking to open their first game of conference play in the Missouri Valley with a win.

In South Dakota’s last game they fell to Weber State University 27-10.

After rushing for eight yards the Coyote sophomore running back Kai Henry scored a touchdown putting South Dakota up 7-0.

A pass by SIU’s senior quarterback Sam Straub lands in the tight ends hands tying the game 7-7.


Straub finished with 320-yards, two touchdowns, a 54 percent completion rating and two interceptions.

An interception by the Coyote’s junior quarterback Austin Simmons lead to a touchdown pass to the Salukis junior tight end Nigel Kilby putting Southern up 14-7.

Kilby finished with seven receptions for 109-yards.

“He’s a big body at tight end,” junior running back DJ Davis said. “ He can block, he’s a big target, he helps the offense out a lot.”

The first quarter ended with a three and out by the South Dakota defense and leaving the Dawgs with the 14-7 lead.

After a dropped pass by the Coyotes tight end, South Dakota settled for a 23-yard field goal slimming Southern’s lead to 14-10.

A field goal by sophomore kicker Nico Gualdoni brought SIU up at halftime 17-10.

Early in the second half, a ten-play 66-yard drive ended in a touchdown for South Dakota knotting the score up at 17-17.

A 45-yard touchdown pass by Simmons put South Dakota ahead 24-17 in the third quarter.

Simmons finished with 333-yards and three touchdowns passing for a 52 percent completion and one interception.

An interception by Straub led to an 89-yard touchdown pass for South Dakota extending their lead to 31-17.

SIU scored a late touchdown with one minute remaining in the game trimming the Coyotes lead to 31-24.

South Dakota held on to take the 31-24 victory.

“Another disappointing loss at home, back-to-back,” head coach Nick Hill said. “One possession losses at home, no one is more disappointed than me.”

Southern’s defense finished with one sack and six tackles.

“We played a good collective game,” Notree said. “It’s just the little things we have to get better at as a team and as a defense.”

The Saluki offense totaled 527 yards with Davis totaling 117 rushing yards.

Southern will be at Youngstown State in Ohio next Saturday looking to get their first conference win. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.

Sports reporter Adam Warfel can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @warfel_adam.

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