Southern falls to Bison, look to clinch playoff berth

By Zach Kramer, Sports Reporter

Southern was looking to extend their win streak to six and clinch their first playoff berth since 2009, but fell short in a 21-7 loss against the North Dakota State Bison.

The Bison (12-0) started the game converting their first three third downs.

On the 10 play of the drive, senior running back Ty Johnson scored a touchdown on a 44 m-yard run to take the early lead 7-0.

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The Bison defense held the Salukis to a three and out on SIU’s first possession of the game.

On the next drive, the Saluki defense nearly came up with a big interception by junior safety Qua Brown but were able to hold the Bison to a three and out.

On the next drive for the Salukis, it looked like they were driving, but junior quarterback Kare Lyles threw an interception to senior linebacker Jaxon Brown.

On the Bison’s next drive, they appeared to get a first down but a key flag stopped them from getting it.

The Bison lead 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.

On the following drive, the Salukis faced a fourth down and three, but the Salukis went for it allowing Lyles would pick up the first down. 

Three plays later freshman running back Javon Williams Jr. scored a 28-yard touchdown tying the score to 7-7.

Junior running back Adam Cofield had a 29-yard run to the Salukis 23 yard line, but the Salukis were able to hold the Bison to a punt on a sack by senior safety Jeremy Chinn.

Southern punted the ball deep pinning the ball down at North Dakota’s own one yard line.

The Bison took the ball all the way to the Salukis 28 yard line and got them into field goal range right before halftime.

 The Bison risked going for it on fourth down and eight but were unable to get a touchdown.

The two teams went into halftime tied at 7-7.

On the first drive in the second half, Williams had a 30-yard run taking it all the way to the Bison 43 yard line. 

That run would put the Salukis into field goal range and junior kicker Nico Gauldoni missed the 44-yard field goal keeping the score tied 7-7. 

Cofield then scored on an 8-yard touchdown run to put the Bison up 14-7.

On the first play of the next drive, Lyles had a big 17-yard pass to senior wide receiver Avante Cox. Southern was unable to get anything out of it as the Bison defense held them to no more first downs after that. 

At the end of the third quarter, the Bison held to their 14-7 lead.

The Bison had a 13 play 86-yard drive that ended in a 34/yard touchdown run by freshman quarterback Trey Lance making the score 21-7 for the Bison.

The Bison looked to add on to their lead managing to get into field goal range, but the center fumbled the snap and they missed the field goal.

Senior running back DJ Davis had a big 34-yard run on the Salukis next drive taking it all the way to the Bison 10-yard line.

The Salukis had an opportunity to score another touchdown late in the game, but Williams was stopped on a fourth down and goal at the one yard line.

Southern Illinois will find out tomorrow if they will be playing in a playoff game with the selection show kicking off at 11:30 a.m. on ESPNU.

Sports reporter Zach Kramer can be reached at [email protected]

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