Salukis

Big plays cost SIU against Illinois

2013-09-01T00:00:00Z 2013-09-04T23:10:33Z Big plays cost SIU against IllinoisBY TODD HEFFERMAN, The Southern The Southern
September 01, 2013 12:00 am  • 

CHAMPAIGN — People will remember Kory Faulkner’s pass glancing off the fingertips of Adam Fuehne in the end zone in Satur-day’s season opener at Illinois, but SIU’s football team lost the game well before they got back into it at Memorial Stadium.

Two 50-yard pass plays and a costly SIU turnover in the opening half helped the Fighting Illini get the cushion it needed to hold off the Salukis, 42-34, and win its 16th straight home opener. Down 7-3 after the first quarter, Illinois took the lead for good off a 53-yard screen pass from Nathan Scheelhaase to Josh Ferguson and extended it after recovering Mika’il McCall’s fumble at the SIU 30-yard line on the ensuing drive. Two plays later, Donovonn Young went into the end zone after a 2-yard run to put the Salukis firmly in catch-up mode.

“We made some mistakes (Saturday) that normally would bury you, and we were fortunate, offensively, we were able to keep the game close enough where we had a chance at the end,” said SIU coach Dale Lennon.

Right where SIU wanted them late in the first half, Illinois escaped from its own 18-yard line for a critical score right before the half. Scheelhaase, who passed for a career-high 416 yards, hit wide receiver Ryan Lankford for a deep out to the 31 for a first down. The fifth-year senior quarterback then found wideout Steve Hull all alone in the middle of the field for a 55-yard gain that ended at the SIU 14-yard line. Illinois scored its third touchdown of the quarter with 17 seconds to go in the half, and went up 18 after a two-point conversion. Holder Tim Russell took the snap for the extra point and reared up to throw, connecting with tight end Matt La-Cosse for a 25-7 lead.

Scheelhaase finished the first half 22-of-28 for 340 yards and two touchdowns through the air. SIU linebacker Bryan Presume said the noise of the 42,175 fans and miscommunication led to some costly big plays early.

“It was pretty loud out there, as you could see. There were a lot of fans out there and the DBs just didn’t get the coverages right at times,” said Presume, who led SIU with 10 tackles. “It happens with our defense. A lot of communication is key for our defense. It’s just something we’ve got to adjust to and keep getting better at.”

The Salukis went down 22 points after allowing their first kickoff return for a touchdown in more than a decade in the third quarter, but nearly got enough together to tie the game in the final minute. V’Angelo Bentley’s 100-yard kickoff return put Illinois up 39-17, and was the first such touchdown allowed by SIU since Drake’s William Casey returned one 45 yards for a score in 2000.

Faulkner, who threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns, nearly got his fourth on a fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard line in the final minute. With three receivers to his left and two to his right, Faulkner took the snap and floated a ball toward the 6-foot-7 Fuehne near the right back corner of the end zone. Fuehne had a smaller defender to his left, but couldn’t haul it in, as Illinois celebrated its 14th win in as many tries against other public state universities.

“We played the scoring game when we had to,” Lennon said. “Two scores going into the fourth quarter, with five minutes left, that’s not a safe lead. With that mentality, we were able to get it to that point. We just weren’t able to finish it.”

todd.hefferman@thesouthern.com

618-351-5087 / On Twitter: @THefferman

Copyright 2015 The Southern. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

SIU's Williamson invited to Browns minicamp

SIU's Williamson invited to Browns minicamp

CARBONDALE -- Tyler Williamson, a 6-foot-2, 234-pound senior linebacker at Southern Illinois University, has been invited to the Cleveland Bro…

May 04, 2015 7:00 pm Photos

Photos

Related (0)
Gallery: Salukis football spring game

Gallery: Salukis football spring game

A gallery of photos from Friday's Salukis football spring game.

April 17, 2015 10:21 pm Photos

Photos

(0)
Video: SIU fb coach Dale Lennon 4-17-15

Video: SIU fb coach Dale Lennon 4-17-15

SIU football coach Dale Lennon talks to the media after the Salukis' spring game at Saluki Stadium on April 17, 2015.

April 17, 2015 10:15 pm(0)
Video: SIU QB Mark Iannotti 4-17-15

Video: SIU QB Mark Iannotti 4-17-15

SIU quarterback Mark Iannotti talks to the media after the Salukis' spring game on April 17, 2015, at Saluki Stadium. Iannotti completed 7 of …

April 17, 2015 10:16 pm(0)
Iannotti to Newquist quick hit highlights spring game

Iannotti to Newquist quick hit highlights spring game

CARBONDALE -- Kyle Newquist had about as much time to catch Mark Iannotti's pass toward the right pylon of the end zone as Southern Illinois U…

April 17, 2015 9:19 pm Video Photos

Photos

Related (0)
SIU spring game to feature two-way scoring system

SIU spring game to feature two-way scoring system

CARBONDALE -- With multiple positions still sorting out their depth charts for the fall, tonight's Southern Illinois University spring game wi…

April 17, 2015 7:00 am Photos

Photos

Related (0)
Lennon: Iannotti still leading SIU quarterback race

Lennon: Iannotti still leading SIU quarterback race

CARBONDALE -- Mark Iannotti entered spring football as Southern Illinois University's top quarterback, and he will enter Friday night's spring…

April 15, 2015 7:08 pm Photos

Photos

Related (0)
Follow the Southern Illinoisan
Dawg Blog