Kory Faulkner set career highs by throwing for 384 yards and three touchdowns.
Sept. 15, 2012
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Salukis jumped out to a quick three touchdown lead over Southeast Missouri and never looked back on their way to a 35-14 victory in Saturday night's home opener at Saluki Stadium. SIU piled up a Saluki Stadium record 565 yards of total offense in the win.
"This is the kind of offense we have been waiting to put on display," SIU Coach Dale Lennon said. "We have a lot of playmakers, and you saw that tonight. There was just a good combination of what we want to do offensively."
Kory Faulkner carved up the Southeast defense for a career high 384 yards, the third highest single game total in school history. He also had a career best three touchdown passes.
"We threw for 384, but you guys saw it," Faulkner said. "There were a lot of yards after the catch. Any time you have MyCole (Pruitt) or LaSteven McKinney who can do what they do when they catch the ball, it's always big for us. As a quarterback, it's definitely encouraging when they get the ball in their hands and can take off like that."
Faulkner's favorite target was Pruitt, who had a career best nine receptions. His 121 receiving yards were three shy of his career mark. McKinney and David Lewis both caught four passes each and found the end zone. They also both set new career highs with 85 receiving yards and 73 yards, respectively.
The Redhawks went three-and-out on five of their six possessions in the first half as Southern smothered their option offense. Southeast Missouri had just 30 yards of offense heading to the break.
"Defensively, any time you play an option football team it's a little scary," Lennon said. "You're always at risk of giving up a big play, but I thought our assignments were very sharp, and our guys were very aggressive running to the football."
Southeast Missouri finally got on the board in the first minute of the fourth quarter when Lewis Washington capped a 56-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run, cutting SIU's lead to 21-7. That was as close as the Redhawks would get.
The Saluki playmakers quickly put away the game as Faulkner found Pruitt or a 34-yard pass, setting up Mika'il McCall's second touchdown run of the game. Then McKinney showed his agility with a 43-yard touchdown reception to extend the lead to 35-7.
The Saluki offense got off to an impressive start. McCall got SIU on the board on its first possession when he pushed aside a pair of Southeast defenders on his way to a 32-yard touchdown run. Then Faulkner found David Lewis all alone for a 35-yard touchdown pass three minutes later to extend the lead to 14-0 just over five minutes into the game.
"We needed a quick score," Lennon said. "That was exactly what I was hoping for. That was exactly what we needed for confidence."
After dropping the first two games of the season, the Salukis will now have a chance to even their record next week when they travel to Missouri State.
"We have a long season in front of us, and we're excited about moving on," Lennon said.