Lucien Walker ran for three TDs Thursday night
Sept. 2, 2010
By Jason Clay
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois football team opened Saluki Stadium in front of a sellout crowd Thursday night, handily defeating Quincy, 70-7.
The 15,276 in attendance marked the second-largest crowd for a home opener in school history. Head coach Dale Lennon said afterwards that he knew the people in southern Illinois would come out and christen the stadium in grand fashion.
"It just felt so good to be in the stadium with that many people there, and them having a good time," Lennon said. "I just hope that they all had a good time at the game because we got some big games coming up and we're going to need them."
The 70 points the Salukis scored in the game were the eighth-most in school history. SIU had six different players that scored TDs, and senior running back Lucien Walker led the way with three rushing scores.
"It felt good to get my first start and get my feet wet," Walker said. "I thought we executed well. We passed well, ran the ball well, blocked well. I think the O-Line did an awesome job."
Walker, who only had two career rushing touchdowns coming into the game, finished with 116 yards on the ground off 12 carries. Three other running backs also found the end zone and junior Shariff Harris (rushing) and sophomore Steve Strother (one rushing, one receiving) both had two touchdowns.
Southern Illinois scored on 10 of its 14 drives in the game and had 496 yards of total offense.
Senior quarterback Chris Dieker had an efficient game in limited action, throwing for 148 yards on 11-of-15 passing with two TDs. Jeff Evans led all receivers with 78 yards on seven catches with one score. Senior tight end Kyle Harruff caught a 42-yard touchdown from Dieker in the third quarter.
The young Saluki defense only gave up 194 yards to the Hawks. Former SIU quarterback Bobby Brenneisen, who transferred to Quincy over the summer, finished with 89 yards passing. He completed 10-of-18 passes with one touchdown.
Sophomore linebacker Joe Okon led the team with seven tackles, and SIU recorded nine stops behind the line of scrimmage in the game. Two Saluki freshmen, Boo Rodgers (interception) and E.J. Clark (fumble recovery on kickoff) created turnovers and Robert Spann added a fumble recovery caused by Connor James to give the defense three turnovers on the night.
Walker got the Salukis (1-0) off to a hot start, scoring rushing touchdowns of 16 and four yards on SIU's first two drives of the game.
Dieker racked SIU's lead up to 21-0 with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Evans on the first play of the second quarter.
Quincy's Adam Dry returned the ensuing kickoff 56-yards to the Saluki 31, and three plays later on a third-and-9, Brenneisen found Justin Dickens on a lob to the end zone for a TD.
The Hawk score was one of two hiccups for the Salukis in the first half, as Harris added on a six-yard touchdown run to give SIU the 28-7 lead at the break.
Southern Illinois came out of the half and scored three touchdowns in under seven minutes, using just 11 plays.
Walker stiff-armed several defenders on a nine-yard run for his third TD and Dieker hit Harruff on a 42-yard pass. The Hawks failed to field the ensuing kickoff after Harruff's score, and Clark hopped on the ball at the QU 23.
That led to a seven-yard touchdown pass from Paul McIntosh to Strother.
Harris capped off a 28-point third quarter with a three-yard run to give SIU a 56-7 lead. Those 28 points are the second most scored by the Salukis in the third quarter of a game in program history.
Strother would score again in the fourth quarter on a one-yard run that was set-up by his 18-yard scamper. Anton Wilkins put in the final points on a four-yard run in midway through the fourth.