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SIU Football | 4-Down Territory: Salukis' leading tackler could be out until October, Dayton wins and UNI's Cuvelier named national player of the week

SIU YSU Football

SIU linebacker Bryson Strong (31) sacks Youngstown State quarterback Mark Waid, knocking the football out of his hands. Saluki cornerback Roderick Campbell recovered. SIU beat the Penguins 30-22 at Stambaugh Stadium in Youngstown, Ohio.

Linebacker Bryson Strong could be out a few more weeks, a look at Dayton's win over Eastern Illinois, and Northern Iowa's Spencer Cuvelier honored by Stats Perform, all in today's Saluki Football 4-Down Territory. 

For all the latest on SIU Football and the Missouri Valley Football Conference, tune in to the 4-Down Territory at thesouthern.com every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 4 p.m. during the season. Digital subscriptions start at $1 for six months ($10.99 a month after that) or $3.77 for 13 weeks for Digital Platinum, for faster-loading web pages. Print and digital packages, which include The Southern Illinoisan in your mailbox every Tuesday through Saturday, start at $20 a month.

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First Down: Could be a few more weeks

Linebacker Bryson Strong, the brother of running back Justin Strong, could be out until late October after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, SIU coach Nick Hill said at his weekly press conference Monday.

Bryson Strong could start working out with the team this week, but will require a lot of steps to get back to the field, Hill said. Strong was SIU's leading tackler last season with 72 stops in 10 games. Forty-two of his tackles were solos. Bryson Strong also had 4.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks and two forced fumbles. 

SIU hosts North Dakota Oct. 16 for Homecoming, is off Oct. 23, and plays at Northern Iowa Oct. 30. 

Second Down: Trautman gone, but Flyers still a threat

After more than 600 days, Dayton finally returned to the football field Saturday in a home game against Eastern Illinois. 

A member of the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League, Dayton did not play in spring 2020 and has a completely new offensive line. All-American tight end Adam Trautman, the highest-drafted player in PFL history when he was taken by New Orleans in the third round, is long gone. The Flyers return quarterback Jack Cook, who threw for 2,697 yards and 33 touchdowns in 2019, as well as running back Jake Chisholm, who had 84 yards rushing and a 10-yard touchdown reception against EIU.

Dayton trailed 3-0 at the half and scored all 17 of its points in the third. The Flyers (1-0) won 17-10 after the Panthers scored with 19 seconds left and couldn't come up with their onside kick. Which sailed out of bounds. EIU (0-3) dropped to 0-3 after losing at Indiana State, to South Carolina 46-0, and at Dayton.

Dayton coach Rick Chamberlin, a 1980 alum, won his 94th game as coach of the Flyers. Chamberlin is 94-41 at UD in his 13th season.

Third Down: UNI's Cuvelier honored by MVFC, Stats Perform

UNI middle linebacker Spencer Cuvelier was honored by Stats Perform as the national defensive player of the week on Monday. Cuvelier, a 6-3, 245-pound junior, fueled a Panther defense that forced six turnovers in its 34-16 road win at Sacramento State. Cuvelier forced one fumble and recovered two. He also had a game-high 15 tackles. 

Cuvelier had 10 or more tackles for the 10th time in 19 career games at UNI. 

Fourth Down: Salukis stay 8th, 9th in major polls

SIU failed to move in the two major polls after nearly taking down Kansas State Saturday night, as most of the top 10 won handily.

The Salukis (1-1) remained eighth in the Stats Perform top-25 poll and were tied for ninth in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) poll with Villanova (1-1). SIU was ninth by itself in the AFCA poll last week. 

South Dakota State (2-0) was second in the Stats Perform poll, North Dakota State (2-0) was fifth, and North Dakota (1-1) was 11th. Missouri State (1-1) moved up six spots to No. 17 after defeating No. 16 Central Arkansas 43-34 in the final minute, and was followed by Northern Iowa (1-1) at No. 18. SDSU was third, NDSU was fourth, and SIU was tied for ninth in the AFCA poll. UND was 14th, UNI was 15th, and MSU was 19th. South Dakota (1-1) received votes. 

todd.hefferman@thesouthern.com

618-351-5087

On Twitter: @THefferman

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