Sept. 29, 2007
By Jeff Honza
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - No. 6 Southern Illinois University (5-0, 1-0) broke a Gateway Conference record for most points scored in a league game when it beat Indiana State (0-5, 0-1), 72-10, earlier today at Memorial Stadium.
SIU intercepted four passes, had seven rushing touchdowns, recovered a fumble, blocked a punt and scored on all but three possessions en route to its league-leading, sixth-straight, Gateway-opening win.
The Salukis' 72 points surpassed Illinois State's 70 (vs. Indiana State in 2005) for the new conference mark. The 62-point differential marked the largest margin of victory in a Gateway game, as well.
If there was ever a moment of uncertainty entering today's contest after INS relieved Lou West of his head coaching duties earlier this week, SIU ended it immediately.
"We didn't really know what to expect with the recent changes in their program," said Saluki head coach Jerry Kill. "We felt like we needed to play hard and get ahead early."
The Salukis erupted for 34 points in the first 13:38 of the game before taking a 55-10 halftime lead. SIU's 55 points matched a school record for the most scored in a half.
Three rushing touchdowns, including two by John Randle, highlighted a 20-point first quarter surge for the Dawgs.
Matt Speed blocked Chris Johansen's punt and recovered the ball deep in INS territory to set up SIU's next score.
Forty-one seconds later, Rick Burgess scored the first rushing touchdown of his career from a yard out.
SIU continued to rough up INS in the second quarter, where it added 35 more points, scoring every time it touched the ball.
Deji Karim's 5-yard run and Larry Luster's 14-yard interception return gave SIU a pair of quick touchdowns in the first two minutes. For Luster, it was the second time he returned an interception for a TD this season.
"I don't think I've ever seen a defensive tackle return two interceptions for touchdowns in the same year," said Kill.
Hill threw two touchdown passes to Turner and Karim scored another rushing touchdown on SIU's final three drives of the half.
The Salukis tacked on another 17 points in the second half to put their fifth win in a row on ice.
Hill completed 10-of-12 passes for 147 yards and two TDs.
Meanwhile, Karim (2), Randle (2), Larry Warner, Richard White and Burgess accounted for the seven rushing TDs. Karim piled up a career and game-high 101 yards on 11 carries, while Randle followed with 96 yards on 18 attempts.
"We're just rotating backs according to different formations," said Kill. "We have a lot of depth and play a lot of different people. We're simply playing good team football right now."
SIU finished with 509 yards of total offense on the day.
The Salukis return home to host Youngstown State over homecoming weekend on Oct. 6. YSU is the first of five current nationally-ranked opponents SIU is scheduled to face in its next six games.
Game Notes: Matt Speed became the first Saluki to block a punt this season...SIU has blocked three kicks (one punt, two field goals) in the last two games and 25 punts in six-plus seasons under head coach Jerry Kill...Alex Thomas' 44-yard TD run in the second quarter was the first touchdown scored against SIU's starting defense since Sept. 8...Craig Turner moved to fourth all-time in kick return yardage (1,119) at SIU and third all-time in punt return yardage (945) in the Gateway...SIU scored more than 60 points in a Gateway game for the second time under Kill...SIU posted its most second quarter points (35) against a NCAA Division I opponent...Saluki starting linebacker Brandin Jordan did not play due to an injured toe...The Salukis improved to 5-0 on the year, matching their second-best start with Kill at the helm (also 5-0 in 2006)...Nick Hill's 147 passing yards put him over 1,000 (1,060) for the season...SIU beat Indiana State for the fifth-straight time, outscoring the Sycamores, 265-57, in those matchups.