By Jeff Honza
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Head Coach Jerry Kill became the school's all-time leader in winning percentage when No. 10 Southern Illinois University (4-0) beat Indiana State (0-5), 55-3, earlier tonight at McAndrew Stadium.
Kill improved his record to 38-26 (.59375) in a little over six years at the SIU helm. He surpassed Rey Dempsey's 54-37 (.59340) mark, and did so in front of 13,524 people, the largest crowd of his Saluki coaching era.
"We're very fortunate here in Southern Illinois to have an outstanding coaching staff." stated Kill. "Everybody looks at the head coach, but we're winning because we have good assistant coaches too."
Kyle Hooper's 47-yard field goal on the game's opening drive, was INS' only scoring.
After that, SIU responded with 55 unanswered points en route to handing the Sycamores their 22nd-straight loss.
SIU countered Hooper's field goal with touchdowns on back-to-back possessions.
The Salukis ran the ball 10 times during a 12-play, 56-yard drive, which resulted in a 1-yard touchdown run by John Randle.
After Lorenzo Wims dropped INS quarterback Reilly Murphy for a loss of three yards on a 4th-and-1, SIU took over on downs, this time at its own 39-yard line.
A 17-yard run by Justin Allen came after that, before Whitlock ran the ball in from one yard out to give SIU a 14-3 lead.
"It feels pretty good. It was nice to get it over with this early," said Coffin when asked about breaking the all-time scoring record. "It's a relief more than anything and I'm sure it'll be nice a couple years down the road to look back and see something I've accomplished."
Another big pass from Hill to Goforth, this time, a 24-yard completion on a 3rd-and-11, keyed SIU's final march before intermission. Whitlock's 12-yard touchdown run pushed SIU's lead to 24-3.
SIU continued to dominate INS in the second half, where it put up 21 points in the third quarter to go along with 10 more in the fourth.
Braden Jones' 80-yard touchdown catch highlighted the third quarter scoring spree. It was the longest completion since Joel Sambursky threw an 84-yard touchdown to Brent Little against the Sycamores in 2004.
"I didn't know if they were coming behind me or not and I was just trying not to cramp up and fall down," said Jones. "It was exciting and one of those plays where you tell yourself, `don't drop it." ."
Whitlock's third rushing touchdown of the game, along with Hill's 32-yard touchdown run also came in the third quarter, before Randle scored from a yard out and Coffin made a 43-yard field goal to polish off the Trees.
Coffin, who has now scored 320 points in his career, also became SIU's all-time leader with 41 field goals. He had 13 points, including seven PATs and two FGs on the night.
Hill completed 9-of-11 passes for 231 yards and one touchdown. He ran for 31 yards and had one rushing TD, as well.
Whitlock posted his fourth-straight 100-yard rushing performance. He carried the ball 17 times for 103 yards and three TDs.
"I'm happy for Arkee," said Kill. "He's an outstanding player and I continue to say each week he's the best in the country."
Jones, meanwhile, caught two passes for 101 yards and one touchdown. He became the first Saluki to pile up 100 or more receiving yards in a game since Little had 152 at Western Michigan a year ago.
Goforth also had three catches for 42 yards to help SIU's productive receiving corps.
"Anytime you get your receivers making plays, obviously is a good thing," said Jones. "We had several guys make key catches tonight."
Offensively, SIU had 527 yards of total offense, including 288 on the ground and 239 through the air. The Salukis also did not turn the ball over for the second time this season.
Defensively, Brandin Jordan led all Saluki tacklers with 11 takedowns (five solo, six assisted).
SIU remains home to host Western Illinois as part of its homecoming weekend on Oct. 7.
Game Notes: SIU extended its record to 5-1 in Gateway openers under head coach Jerry Kill...the Salukis have now begun their conference season with a win in five-straight years...Craig Coffin became SIU's all-time scoring and field goal leader...his 320 points surpassed Tom Koutsos' 312 from 1999-03, while his 41 field goals surpassed Tom Miller's 40 from 1983-86...the Salukis have gone two-straight games with scoring streaks of 27 or more unanswered points...SIU had six rushing touchdowns in a game for the first time since Oct. 30, 2004 (vs. Western Illinois)...the Dawgs have won four-straight games against the Sycamores...INS fell to 8-54 against ranked opponents...the last time SIU scored over 50 points in a conference game was also against the Sycamores (59-10, on Nov. 13, 2004)