Missed scoring opportunities lead to loss against Arkansas State

By Zach Kramer, Sports Reporter

SIU had their chances against Arkansas State as they had six opportunities inside of their 20 yard line, but they were only able to score on two of them falling to the Red Wolves 41-28.

Prior to this matchup, the last time these two teams had met dates all the way back to 1995 when Arkansas State defeated Southern 14-9. 

Arkansas State scored quickly with good field position as they started from the 50 yard line to take an early 7-0 lead on a 14-yard run by junior running back Ryan Graham with just over 13 minutes left in the first quarter.

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On the first play of the next drive, junior quarterback Kare Lyles threw a deep 62-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Avante Cox, which helped them even up the score after a three-yard running touchdown by freshman running back Javon Williams Jr. with 12:07 left in the first quarter.

On the next Southern possession, the Salukis turned it over on downs in their own territory on fourth and two.

On the next Red Wolves possession, they took advantage of the short field on the Salukis 45 yard line after the turnover on downs by scoring in just two plays on a 43-yard pass by junior quarterback Logan Bonner to senior wide receiver Kirk Merrit with 7:47 left in the first quarter.

A 15-yard face mask penalty on the Southern 43 allowed SIU to redo third down, which resulted in a 14-yard passing touchdown to Cox knotting the score up at 14 with just over two minutes left in the first quarter.

The first quarter ended on a big play by the Red Wolves on a 28-yard run by Bonner. SIU held them to three points as Arkansas State retook the lead at 17-14 after the 12 play 65-yard drive in the second quarter.

A fumble by Cox on the Salukis first drive of the second quarter was recovered by the Red Wolves and gave Arkansas State the ball at the Southern 29 yard line.

Another touchdown throw from Bonner to Merrit gave the Red Wolves a two score advantage as they took the 10 point lead 24-14.

A 46-yard run by Williams gave the Salukis a great opportunity to cut into the deficit as they were in the Saluki’s 20 yard line, but the score stayed at 24-14 as freshman kicker Griffin Cerra missed a field goal off of the goalpost.

The Salukis had another opportunity to score inside the red zone, but Lyles threw an interception with just over one minute left until halftime.

The next Red Wolves drive resulted in another touchdown to make it 31-14 as Bonner threw for 55 yards completing the drive with a 25-yard pass to senior running back Johnathon Adams.

On the first drive of the second half for the Salukis, they were able to get a touchdown to cut the deficit to 31-21 on a 39-yard pass from Lyles to junior wide receiver Sam Bonansinga with just under 12 minutes left in the third quarter. 

On the Salukis next drive, they were able to get a first down on a fourth and one. They were able to get it into the red zone again, but they missed a touchdown on fourth and two as junior wide receiver Landon Lenoir caught a pass but it was out of bounds.

On the Red Wolves next drive, they scored another touchdown in just two plays as Bonnor threw an 89-yard pass to senior wide receiver Omar Bayless extending their lead to 38-21. 

On the Salukis next drive, Lyles ran for a 15-yard touchdown to cut the Red Wolves lead to 10 points at 38-28 with 1:39 left in the third quarter. They had to challenge the play to see if Lyles got all the way into the end zone, but the officials determined that he was able to shake off the defenders and score the touchdown.

On the next Arkansas State drive, they were only able to get a 43-yard field goal because of a holding call that prevented them from getting into the end zone as they extended their lead 41-28 with 14:55 left in the game. 

Southern threatened, again, in the red zone but was unable to cash in any points as they got a turnover on downs.

The Red Wolves were able to keep Southern off of the field for the the last 6:04 as they won the game 41-28. They improve to 2-2.

The Salukis are off next week but will face off the week after against South Dakota State on Oct. 5 at 2 p.m. at South Dakota State. 

 Zach Kramer, Sports Reporter, can be reached at [email protected]

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