CARBONDALE — The Super Bowl will have an SIU feel, and it’s not Brandon Jacobs this time.
Jacobs, a two-time world champion with the New York Giants, was with one of today’s participants, but he was suspended for the final three games of the regular season and ultimately cut from the San Francisco 49ers. He is now a free agent.
Otherwise, former SIU tailback Jewel Hampton would have a fellow Saluki teammate on the 49ers today at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
San Francisco (13-4-1) takes on Baltimore (13-6) at the Superdome at 5:30 p.m. (CBS).
Hampton doesn’t have a carry this season as a backup tailback for Frank Gore, who was 10th in the NFL in rushing during the regular season (75.9 yards per game). Gore rushed for 1,214 yards and eight touchdowns.
Hampton, who started at Iowa and then played for SIU in 2011, is listed as the 49ers’ third-string tailback. He was inactive for the last two playoff games but is expected to dress today.
Hampton led the Missouri Valley Football Conference with 17 rushing touchdowns as a junior, winning the league’s newcomer of the year award. He rushed for 1,121 yards and had six 100-yard games. The Indianapolis native also had 163 yards receiving and was fourth in the league in all-purpose yards.
SIU athletic director Mario Moccia said Jacobs’ and Hampton’s successes may have helped the Saluki football program land Georgia transfer Ken Malcome.
“I think it’s huge for the program,” Moccia said. “When you get a Ken Malcome, I think a lot of the reasons are because we have three tailbacks in the NFL.”
The third tailback is Deji Karim of the Colts. Other Salukis in the NFL are Bart Scott, a linebacker for the New York Jets, and defensive back Korey Lindsey, who finished the year on the Washington Redskins’ practice squad.
Hampton did not respond to interview requests this week.
SIU coach Dale Lennon said last week he hadn’t talked to Hampton since he qualified for the Super Bowl, but they had texted back in forth.
“I think it’s really neat to have another Saluki in the big game,” Lennon said.
On Twitter: @Todd_Hefferman