Bison stampede through Salukis

Bison stampede through Salukis

By Terrance Peacock

The SIU football team gave the Homecoming crowd of more than 11,000 fans something to cheer about as SIU built a 10-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

However, North Dakota State University scored 31 unanswered points to quiet the crowd and come away with the impressive victory.

The Salukis came into their matchup against the No. 1 ranked Bison allowing 85 rushing yards per game, which was fourth in the nation. That average will likely shoot up a bit as the Salukis allowed over 200 rushing yards in the third quarter alone and over 300 rushing yards total as the Bison (7-0, 4-0 Missouri Valley Football Conference) ran away from SIU (4-4, 2-2 MVFC) 31-10 Saturday at Saluki Stadium.


Coach Dale Lennon said unforeseen events throughout the second half prevented the Salukis from playing to their full potential coming out of halftime.

“We played well enough in the first half to put ourselves in position to win,” Lennon said. “We came out with a chance to win in the second half. Unfortunately, the events that happened prevented that.”

Following SIU’s first drive of the second half, senior quarterback Kory Faulkner left the game with an injury to his throwing hand.

While some sources report a fractured right index finger, Saluki Athletics reported that Faulker will be evaluated by a hand specialist today to determine the extent of his injury.

The drive stalled when SIU missed a 48-yard field goal attempt. Faulkner never returned to the game and from that point on the Bison outgained the Salukis by a margin of 296-40 yards. NDSU finished with 504 yards of total offense.

“They just got the momentum and flow to get their game going,” Lennon said. “Once they get that north-south game going, they are hard to stop. It seems like it shouldn’t be that difficult, but it is.”

The Bison took full control of momentum after taking a 14-10 lead once NDSU running back John Crockett scored on a 10-yard run with just over eight minutes to go in the third quarter. The score came two plays after the drive was extended when senior linebacker Bryan Presume jumped offside on a missed field goal attempt.


“I think that a big part of the game is that we weren’t able to keep our offense on the field, especially in the second half,” Lennon said. “We gave them momentum. They went from missing a field goal to getting a first down and eventually a touchdown.”

Junior linebacker Jordan Poole said despite the mistake by Presume, the senior captain has made too many big plays this season to hold it against him.

“The play is kind of designed for him to time up his snap,” Poole said. “(Presume) has made enough plays where you can’t look too down upon him for making a small mistake like that. It was a field goal, not a game-winning touchdown or anything.”

The game became out of reach for the Salukis after Crockett capped the next two NDSU scoring drives with a 26-yard touchdown run and then a 30-yard touchdown run to extend the Bison’s lead to 28-10 with under a minute left in the third quarter.

Crockett finished with a career high 171 rushing yards. He and fellow Bison running back Sam Ojuri combined for 308 yards on the ground.

NDSU Coach Craig Bohl credited the effective rushing to having all five starting offensive linemen healthy.

“We were really encouraged to be able to have those five guys back,” Bohl said. “I think it’s really important for us to be able to come up with those five guys, and I thought our running backs were just phenomenal as well.”

Despite the disappointing loss to North Dakota State, the Salukis remain in the playoff hunt and will head into a bye week before traveling to Western Illinois University for their next game Nov. 2.

Junior receiver LaSteven McKinney said the locker room is down right now, but they will use this bye week to regroup and prepare for battle against the Leathernecks.

“When you are given the opportunity to play the No. 1 team in the nation, and you have prepared for them it can be deflating when you come out on the bottom half,” McKinney said. “The locker room is very quiet, and our heads are down, but on Monday we will recuperate. We’ll keep on chugging to get ready for Western Illinois.”