Fresh off the heels of a dominant 49-10 win at Murray State, Southern Illinois University is searching for one of the biggest upsets in program history as they head to Ole Miss on Saturday.
The Salukis won’t let Ole Miss scare them. Sophomore safety Qua Brown put into words how the Saluki locker room is feeling, “If it all works out this week, if we put it all together, we should be able to come away with a big upset.”
— Saluki Football (@SIU_Football) September 4, 2018
This isn’t the first time the Salukis are facing Ole Miss. The Dawgs have played the Rebels twice in program history. The Salukis fell 59-3 in 1994 when the two teams met for the first time.
The second time, in 2011, the Salukis were overwhelmed in the first six minutes of the game as Ole Mis scored three touchdowns to take a 21-0 lead. The Salukis would go on to lose 42-24. The silver lining: if it weren’t for those first six minutes, the Salukis would have won 24-21.
TIES THAT BIND US
Ole Miss offensive coordinator Phil Longo held the same role from 2008-09 in the first years of Dale Lennon’s tenure as Head Coach of the Salukis.
The game likely will come down between a war of the Saluki defense and the Rebel offense.
The Rebels totaled 548 yards of offense in their win over Texas Tech last week. 336 yards came in the air from starting QB Jordan Ta’amu. Another 204 came on the ground from RB Scottie Phillips.
Most yards by a Rebel RB in his debut ✅
8th Rebel in history to eclipse 200 yards rushing in one game ✅@SEC Offensive Player of the Week ✅
2nd nationally in rushing yards ✅#ScottieToddy pic.twitter.com/hYpCl2XaqD
— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) September 4, 2018
The Saluki defense, on the other hand, limited Murray State to 273 total yards. The Dawgs will also have a shot at pressuring Ta’amu. Texas Tech sacked the Rebel QB twice last week. The Salukis totaled three sacks against Murray.
And then, of course, there were the six total turnovers and the school-record three defensive touchdowns the Saluki D put forth in week one.
#Salukis scored three defensive touchdowns in Week 1.
— Saluki Football (@SIU_Football) September 2, 2018
WEEK ONE HONORS
The Rebels’ week one win was so impressive that several players earned weekly awards. Phillips was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week, left tackle Greg Little earned SEC Offensive Lineman for helping Phillips to his huge day.
— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) September 5, 2018
Sophomore kicker Luke Logan shared co-SEC Special Teams Player of the Week with LSU’s Cole Tracey after hitting all four of his field goal attempts with a career long 39 yard kick.
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER
Jeremy Chinn has arrived as a leader on the Saluki defense. In the past 13 games, he’s created 10 total turnovers. The Preseason All-MVC pick has four interceptions and six forced fumbles, which ties him for second in Southern’s history for a career.
STARS COME OUT UNDER THE LIGHTS
Sam Straub struggled to make big plays in the first game of the year but he’ll have several eyes on him this week. With so many weapons to throw to, Straub will need to step up against the Rebel defense and gain more than 107 yards like he did against Murray State in Week 1.
PUMP THE BRAKES
Nick Hill has experience in defeating FBS opponents, he did so as a player in 2006 at Indiana and 2007 against Northern Illinois.
— Barstool SIU (@BarstoolSIU) September 7, 2018
As a coach, the record is a little different. Coach Hill is 0-2, but he’s been close against both opponents; in 2016 the Salukis lost to Florida Atlantic 38-30; in 2017, the Dawgs impressed the community with a gutsy 44-31 loss to Memphis.
#Salukis Football Flashback | On Sept. 16, 2006, SIU became the first MVFC team to beat a Big Ten opponent. On Sept. 8, 2018, they will try to become the first MVFC team to beat an SEC foe. pic.twitter.com/ezAqWicLtD
— Saluki Football (@SIU_Football) September 7, 2018
WHEN’S THE GAME?
The Salukis (1-0) head into Ole Miss (1-0) Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is at 3pm. Tune in to pregame at 2pm on 101.5 CIL-FM for coverage from Mike Reis, Gene Green, and Connor James!