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SIU tops SEMO 35-14 in regional rivalry

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) -

CARBONDALE, Ill. - Kory Faulkner threw for a career-high 384 yards and three touchdowns to lead Southern Illinois (1-2) to a 35-14 win over Southeast Missouri (1-2) Saturday night in front of 9,612 at Saluki Stadium.

SIU registered a hefty 565-186 advantage in total offense. The Salukis also ran 84 plays to Southeast's 52 and possessed the ball 33:06.

"We didn't play well in the first quarter in particular," said Southeast head coach Tony Samuel. "I thought we were too excited and overplaying things early. We have to get off the field from a defensive standpoint."

SIU wasted no time getting on the board, scoring twice in the first 5:15 of the game.

The Salukis marched 76 yards in six plays on the game's opening drive. Mika'il McCall capped things off with a 32-yard run to give the Salukis a 7-0 lead with 12:33 left to play in the first quarter.

After Southeast was forced to punt on its first possession, SIU added another quick touchdown, this time on a 39-yard pass from Faulkner to David Lewis. Lewis' TD pushed the Salukis lead to 14-0 at the 9:45 mark.

SIU held a stifling 212-4 advantage in total offense and ran 16 more plays than Southeast during the first quarter alone.

The Salukis then took over on downs at its own 1-yardline before going 99 yards in 13 plays to push their lead to 21-0 early in the second quarter. Faulkner hit MyCole Pruitt on a 14-yard pass along the far sideline, capping the drive which consumed 5:29.

Southeast trailed 21-0 at halftime. The Redhawks made it into SIU territory once, went three-and-out on five of six drives, had only one first down and gained just 30 total yards in the first half.

Defensively, the Redhawks forced two turnovers in the game's opening 30 minutes. Branden Spann recorded his first career interception and fumble recovery, accounting for both takeaways. Southeast has forced multiple turnovers in five-straight games dating back to last season.
Southeast responded by putting together its best drive of the night which covered 56 yards in 11 plays. A pair of 12-yard passes from Scott Lathrop to D.J. Foster keyed the march which ended on a 1-yard touchdown by Lewis Washington that narrowed the gap to 21-7 with 14:15 left in the fourth quarter.

SIU answered right back on its next possession, which began at its own 26. Ten plays into that drive, Faulkner completed a 35-yard pass to Pruitt, giving the Salukis a first down at the Southeast-4. McCall later crossed the goal line on a 1-yard plunge to give SIU a 28-7 lead with 8:17 on the clock.

LaSteven McKinney caught a Faulkner screen pass and dashed 43 yards to push SIU's lead to 35-7 at the 5:00 mark.

Southeast posted its fourth takeaway of the game when true freshman David Coley recovered A.J. Hill's fumble at the SIU-22. On the very next play, fellow true freshmen B;Blake Jackson and Paul McRoberts hooked up on a 22-yard touchdown pass to cut the Salukis lead to 35-14 with 2:43 left.

A native of Ste. Genevieve, Mo., Faulkner completed 26-of-40 passes to lead the SIU offense. Pruitt also caught nine passes for 121 yards and a touchdown.

The Redhawks return to Cape Girardeau to host Tennessee Tech in their Ohio Valley Conference opener on Sept. 22. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m., CT, at Missouri National Guard Field/Houck Stadium. Southeast and TTU will play during the Redhawks Family Weekend.

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