CARBONDALE — Tanner Hearn and Matt DeSomer may continue to rotate when SIU hosts Youngstown State this weekend, according to Saluki coach Nick Hill.
Hearn threw for a career-high three touchdowns in last weekend's 36-28 loss to Missouri State, but the 6-foot-1 sophomore quarterback also had a costly fumble that led to a Bears touchdown and an interception in the red zone.
DeSomer, a 6-foot junior who hadn't played the position all year before stepping in as the backup last week in practice, was incredibly efficient — all things considered.
DeSomer rushed a team-high 16 times for a team-high 74 yards and completed 9-of-12 passes for 77 yards. DeSomer, who played wide receiver last season and moved to safety this year, hadn't thrown more than four passes in a game before last weekend.
"He had about five days of preparation for a game, a conference game, to dive back in. He hasn't been in the meeting room on offense all season," Hill said Monday at his weekly news conference. "He's been playing safety, and having a few run plays which he's had since he's been here, so he doesn't really have to practice them over and over."
As with Hearn, who hadn't played extensively since stepping in for the injured Sam Straub on Oct. 28 at South Dakota, DeSomer's offensive package will expand a bit in his second week of full-time practice. True freshman Brandon George will remain the emergency third-string quarterback.
"(DeSomer's) package will continue to grow, and what he feels comfortable with," Hill said. "We did a good job of meeting with him, and things he was not comfortable running in the game, as far as the reads and checks, things like that. We had a good package that he felt comfortable with, and that'll continue to grow."
SIU (4-5, 2-4 Missouri Valley Football Conference) hosts Youngstown State (4-5, 2-4) at 1 p.m. Saturday on Senior Day. The Penguins, who were ranked in both major top 25 polls most of the year before a four-game slide, started senior Ricky Davis at quarterback for the first time last weekend at Indiana State.
Davis, a 6-3, 215-pound senior righty, was outstanding on the road, running for a 57-yard touchdown on the Penguins' second play from scrimmage against the winless Sycamores. Davis rushed for 98 yards and two scores on 14 attempts and completed 10-of-12 passes for an incredible 349 yards and four touchdowns.
Three of Davis' touchdown passes went over 35 yards, and two of them were longer than 60.