Despite losses, Salukis can’t be counted out

Despite losses, Salukis cant be counted out

By Terrance Peacock

It’s too soon to hit the panic button.

The Salukis’ 0-2 start does not reflect the team’s talent. There is no denying the Salukis have taken an early beating, but they got back up and fought to the end.

That’s what matters.


SIU has run into two of the most high-powered offenses in college football in the first two weeks, and the Saluki defense has allowed 1,086 yards of total offense in its first two games.

Red flag? I wouldn’t say so. After torching SIU’s defense in week one for 416 yards and four touchdowns, Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhasse carried the momentum into Saturday’s matchup against Cincinnati and handed in another solid performance. The senior threw for 312 yards and another four touchdowns in a 45-17 Bearcat beat down.

Before Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo lit up the Salukis Saturday for 440 yards and four touchdowns, Garoppolo lit up Football Bowl Subdivision opponent San Diego State for 361 yards and three touchdowns in a week-one 40-19 route against the Aztecs.

Scheelhasse is fifth in the Football Bowl Subdivision in passing yards. Garoppolo leads the Football Championship Subdivision in passing yards and on Monday was named College Sporting News Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Salukis.

It’s safe to say the Salukis ran into two pretty good quarterbacks to start the season.

The defense had a hard time slowing both Illinois’ and Eastern Illinois’ passing attacks, but I don’t predict this will be a weekly occurrence.

The defensive line is solid, the secondary will continue to improve and senior linebacker Brian Presume will continue to be a tackling machine. Presume leads the Missouri Valley Football Conference with 25 tackles, which is also 10th in the nation.


Senior quarterback Kory Faulkner took it upon himself to lead the Saluki offense, and he seems to be holding up his end of the bargain so far.

With seven touchdowns throughout two games, Faulkner is only four touchdowns away from matching his career best in a season. Faulkner is sixth in the nation in total offense per game averaging 335.5 yards per game. He leads the team with 606 passing yards and 65 rushing yards and ranks fourth on the with 29 receiving yards.

If Faulkner can keep this up, the Saluki offense will continue to be a problem for opposing defenses this season.

Junior tight end MyCole Pruitt and senior wide receiver John Lantz are also making big plays in the Saluki offense so far.

Pruitt and Lantz are second and third in the MVFC in receiving yards. Pruitt has caught 13 passes for 181 yards and three touchdowns, and Lantz has caught seven passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns.

The College Football Performance Awards named Pruitt the Tight End Performer of the Week for his performance against Eastern Illinois. Pruitt caught eight passes for 98 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Panthers.

The Salukis also picked up 209 rushing yards and averaged 4.6 yards per carry after struggling on the ground in week one.

Yes, the Salukis are 0-2, but it’s too soon to call the season quits. The Salukis are a playoff-caliber team that happened to start the season with two hearbreakers. It won’t be long until we see SIU’s win column match their level of play.

And when I say long, I mean Saturday against the University of Charleston.