CARBONDALE — Daniel Santacaterina's 14-yard touchdown pass to tight end Austin Crump rallied Southeast Missouri State past SIU Saturday night 48-44.
Facing a third-and-5 from the Saluki 14-yard line, Santacaterina rolled right, then threw back to a wide-open Crump on the left side. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound sophomore turned upfield and beat SIU cornerback Madre Harper to the pylon for the score. The Salukis got the ball back with 23 seconds left and three timeouts, but Sam Straub's Hail Mary to the end zone was broken up on the final play.
Marquis Terry rushed for a school-record 311 yards and four touchdowns for the Redhawks (2-1), who ended a 10-game road losing streak and captured the first War For The Wheel at Saluki Stadium. Terry's 311 yards on 30 carries is also an Ohio Valley Conference record.
SIU (1-2) turned it over four times and dropped its first game to SEMO at home since 2010.
"We turned the ball over three or four times. Our first drive we threw an interception. We can't be out there leaving plays out there on the field," said SIU wide receiver Raphael Leonard, who caught 11 passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Both of Leonard's scores came in the fourth quarter.
"We scored 44. We could have had way more than that," Leonard said. "We left too many plays on the field."
Straub was picked off three times in the first half, twice off tipped passes, and James Ceasar fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half.
Down six at the break, SEMO scored the go-ahead touchdown two plays later. Terry took an inside handoff and waltzed into the end zone from 23 yards out. Nicholas Litang hit the extra point to put the Redhawks up 24-20.
The lead changed six more times before Straub's heave to the end zone fell incomplete on the final play.
The loss spoiled several outstanding performances by the Salukis in their home opener. Running back D.J. Davis rushed a career-high 35 times for a career-high 172 yards and two touchdowns, and Leonard's 11 catches and 124 yards were both career-highs. Redshirt freshman safety Michael Elbert, in for the injured Qua Brown, led the Salukis with 10 tackles.
Linebacker Bryce Notree had an interception that led to a touchdown and 2.0 sacks.
SEMO overcame 165 yards in penalties and going 5 of 14 on third down to win for the second straight weekend.
SIU coach Nick Hill credited the Redhawks, but also recognized his team simply didn't deserve to win.
"I feel confident in this football team. It's my job as the head coach to have them ready to play, and it was sloppy at times," Hill said. "I thought we battled to try to win the football game, but when you have four turnovers, and rough the punter, and keep giving 'em drives, and a guy rushes for 311 yards, it's gonna be tough to win a football game."
SIU is off next weekend and opens conference play Sept. 29 against South Dakota on Family Weekend. Kickoff at Saluki Stadium is set for 6 p.m.