Saluki Football defeats Missouri State for first conference win

By Adam Warfel, Sports Reporter

Saluki football ends losing streak with a 49-35 victory against the Missouri State Bears. (4-4, MVFC 2-3).

The Salukis were looking to end their six-game losing streak and earn their first conference win.

SIU has won 11 of the last 15 meetings between the two teams, but the Missouri State Bears have won the last two.

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The past five meetings between the two teams have been high scoring as the Dawgs have averaged 39 points per game and the Bears 32 points per game.

The Salukis have won five out of the last seven games played at Missouri State.

Southern returned to senior Matt DeSomer as quarterback for the game making his fourth career start after he set career highs in rushing yards with 145 and passing yards with 165 in the loss to Indiana State last week.

Missouri State recorded the first score of the game as junior quarterback Peyton Huslig rushed for six yards putting them ahead 7-0 with 2:17 remaining in the first quarter.

The rush made Huslig a 1,000-yard rusher for his career.

SIU was on their 42-yard line at the end of the first quarter as the Bears still lead 7-0.

Junior running back DJ Davis rushed for 18 yards bringing it in for a touchdown knotting the score up at 7-7.

Davis finished with 96 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Missouri State scored on a nine-play 55-yard drive putting them back ahead 14-7 with 5:19 remaining in the second quarter.

After a 34-yard rush by Davis, DeSomer completed a pass to junior tight end Nigel Kilby resulting in a touchdown for Southern pulling them back into a tie at 14-14.

The Bears scored on a six-play, 75-yard drive putting them back ahead 21-14.

Southern ran the two-minute drill ending in a touchdown to Kilby, his second of the day knotting the score back up at 21-21 with 11 seconds remaining in the half.

Missouri State took a knee to end the half at 21-21.

At halftime, SIU defense had recorded three sacks and DeSomer had 14 completions for 128 yards and had rushed the ball for 56 yards.

A 39-yard pass to senior wide receiver Raphael Leonard and a 30-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Landon Lenoir put the Salukis ahead 28-21 to open the half.

Leonard finished with eight receptions for 103 yards.

A 14-yard rush by Davis gave the Dawgs their second touchdown of the quarter extending their lead to 35-21

The SIU defense found an interception, returning it 55 yards for the third touchdown of the quarter stretching the Southern lead to 42-21.

After the first sack of the game by the MSU defense, they kept Southern off the board for the first time in the third quarter with 3:18 remaining.

A 24-yard touchdown pass by the Bears was their first score of the second half making it 42-28 with 14:10 remaining in the fourth quarter.

After an interception by sophomore outside linebacker Bryce Notree, senior running back Jonathan Mixon ran it in for another touchdown pushing the Dawgs ahead 49-28.

Notree finished with seven tackles and one interception.

The Bears scored with three minutes left to pull within two touchdowns 49-35, however, it was not enough as SIU held on for the 49-35 win.

The win marked the first for DeSomer as the starting quarterback.

DeSomer finished with 19 completions for 206 passing yards and 92 rushing yards.

The Salukis (2-6, MVFC 1-4) will return home next weekend when they take on Western Illinois. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

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

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