Salukis’ season brought lasting memories

By Terrance Peacock

The SIU football team may not have accomplished its goal of reaching the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, but that does not take away from how unforgettable the season was.

From the anticipation of pulling off a University of Illinois upset in the season’s first week to the expectation of grabbing a playoff spot at the very end, it has been one rollercoaster of a ride for the Salukis.

Coach Dale Lennon said this team was fun to coach, and it kept battling back even though it was counted out numerous times.


“I’m proud of how we hung together,” he said. “You talk about overcoming adversity, how many times in the season did people talk about us being dead and media people saying it was a lost season? Our guys kept battling and came to work each Tuesday.”

It is crazy to imagine how much noise these Dawgs would have made in the playoffs if it weren’t for a couple of calls and maybe a broken index finger.

Still, the Salukis showed us their resilience, and they helped us believe that the ultimate goal could be reached next season with returning key players. SIU had a very good senior class this season with quarterback Kory Faulkner leading the offense, receiver John Lantz, and linebacker Bryan Presume controlling the defense.

Next season could potentially boast an even better senior class with returning players such as leading rusher Malcolm Agnew, key receivers LaSteven McKinney and MyCole Pruitt as well as a junior linebacker Tyler Williamson, who will likely take the helm as leader of the defensive unit. Freshman linebacker Carl Bivens, who came on strong toward the season’s end and was named MVFC Newcomer of the Week in the team’s last game against Indiana State University, will also be a key contributor on defense.

Although the Salukis may have been snubbed from the playoffs, multiple players were not snubbed in the MVFC All-Conference Selections.

Junior tight end MyCole Pruitt and senior linebacker Bryan Presume were selected to the 2013 All-MVFC first team, and junior kicker Thomas Kinney earned second-team honors.

Despite missing the season’s final two games with a broken leg, Pruitt led the conference and was second in the nation in receptions and receiving yards by a tight end. His five touchdown catches tied for the team lead.


Presume led the team and was third in the conference with 104 tackles, and his 55 solo tackles led the MVFC. Presume also blocked three kicks and returned one for a score.

In his first season as a Saluki, Kinney put together one of the best statistical seasons by a kicker in school history. His 18 made field goals were tied for the second-highest single-season total in school history, and his 94 points is the sixth highest single-season total in school history.

Lantz, McKinney and senior punter Austin Pucylowski earned honorable mention and Agnew was selected to the Missouri Valley Football Conference All-Newcomer team along with Kinney.

Most of the players who were named All-Conference selections are returning next season, which may make for another unforgettable year for the Salukis.