Salukis prove to be road warriors

Salukis prove to be road warriors

By Terrance Peacock

Playing on your home turf is supposed to be an advantage; not for the Salukis.

I’m not saying the Salukis don’t like to play in the confines of Saluki Stadium, but to this group of Dawgs, there is something about taking their talents on the road that intrigues them.

Since 2012, SIU is 4-1 in Missouri Valley Football Conference road games and has won five out of its last six conference road games overall. Their lone MVFC road loss came last season in Fargo, N.D. where No. 3 North Dakota State defeated SIU 23-17 to end the Salukis’ three-game winning streak.


That season, the Bison went on to win their second consecutive national championship.

In contrast, the Salukis are 2-3 in conference home games since the start of the 2012 season.

Coach Dale Lennon said he, as well as his players, has developed a knack for competing away from Saluki Stadium.

“The road game is not a factor,” Lennon said. “I think our mentality has changed to where we like road games. I like road games. I like getting out the office and getting away from everyone. There’s a part of that that is good for the team. We get to hang out together Friday night before a game, which is very relaxing and encouraging. Right now, going on the road is not a big thing for us.”

After a debilitating loss at home against Youngstown State to start the conference season, maybe back-to-back road games is just what the doctor ordered for SIU.

The Salukis took care of business in Brookings, S.D. on South Dakota State’s homecoming in front of a boisterous crowd, and SIU will need to do it again Saturday at the UNI Dome on Northern Iowa’s homecoming in front of a crowd that will be just as loud.

The Salukis have had recent success against the Panthers. SIU has won four of its last five meetings against UNI, including a last minute 34-31 victory against Northern Iowa in 2012.


This season the No. 4 ranked Panthers are 4-1, coming off a heartbreaking 24-23 road loss against No. 1 North Dakota State.

Saturday, the Panthers will be looking to right the ship at home against the 3-3 Salukis, but SIU has other ideas.

Lennon said UNI is a very balanced team and does a number of things well.

“They don’t have many weaknesses,” he said. “Offensively, they have a great running game with David Johnson. They also have a solid passing attack with Sawyer Kollmorgen. UNI is also equipped with receivers that can make big plays. Northern Iowa is as balanced as you can be as an offensive football team.”

This is another must-win game for SIU to solidify its playoff chances. The Salukis seem to respond well when their backs are against the wall and have a flare for the dramatics.

It will not be a surprise if this game comes down to the wire. It seems like those are the only games the Salukis know how to play now-a-days.

The Salukis have been road warriors in conference play since the 2012 season and will need to continue that trend if they want to stay in the thick of things in the MVFC.

Terrance Peacock can be reached at [email protected]

or 536-3311 ext. 269.