Senior quarterback Kory Faulkner threw for 252 yards and two touchdowns Saturday.
Oct. 12, 2013
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - After outplaying No. 4/5 Northern Iowa for nearly the entire game, Southern Illinois survived for a 24-17 overtime win over the Panthers (4-2, 0-2 MVFC) Saturday evening at the UNI-Dome. For the Salukis (4-3, 2-1 MVFC), it was the second-consecutive week with a road victory against a top-10 team.
Malcolm Agnew received a pitch from Kory Faulkner on an option run to score the game-winning touchdown on the second play of overtime. Southern began the overtime session on offense, and Kory Faulkner quickly completed a 20-yard pass to John Lantz to set up Agnew's five-yard score.
"(Agnew's touchdown) was a play we hadn't run all year and had just put in the playbook for this game," SIU Coach Dale Lennon said. "We knew how (UNI) lined up that it would end up being a pitch, which scares you a bit because we're not an option football team and we're going to count on our quarterback to make a pitch to our running back. But he did and went in untouched."
UNI began their first possession of overtime with a two-yard run and a seven-yard pass to set up a third-and-one. After Sawyer Kollmorgen threw an incomplete pass, UNI called timeout to set up a play to extend the game. After lining up, SIU countered with a timeout of its own. Linebacker Bryan Presume fought through the line and stood up running back David Johnson to secure the victory.
"I went in untouched," Presume said. "The guard was coming to block me, but I gave him a little juke move, met the running back in the hole and was able to make the stop."
The Salukis had an opportunity to win in regulation when Thomas Kinney missed a 29-yard field goal as time expired.
After a scoreless first quarter in which the two teams combined for five first downs and five punts, Faulkner threw a pair of touchdown passes as SIU built a 14-0 lead heading into the half.
The Panthers stole the momentum with two big plays midway through the third quarter. With SIU on UNI's 21-yardline and looking to extend its 14-0 lead, Ray Mitchell intercepted Faulkner at the eight-yardline. Mithchell returned it 53 yards before Lantz stripped the ball. However, UNI's Deiondre' Hall scooped up the ball and ran the final 29 yards into the end zone to cut the lead to 14-7.
Three minutes later, Panthers wide receiver Kevin Vereen got behind the Saluki defense, and Kollmorgen hit him in stride down the left sideline for a 52-yard touchdown to knot the game at 14-14.
"The third quarter took the wind out of our sails," Lennon said. "We had been playing so well, and then all of the sudden gave up two quick scores. Early in the season, I don't know if we would've rallied, but we've been through those scenarios in the past, and I think we've learned from it."
The Salukis' won the battle for time of possession, holding the ball for over 37 minutes. The running game was a big part of that success as SIU ran for 177 yards compared to UNI's 37 rushing yards. Malcolm Agnew led the team with 113 yards on 25 carries.
"We have a lot of faith in our run game," Lennon said. "That was a big part of our game plan, trying to keep Northern Iowa off the field. We knew time of possession was going to be key, and I thought we did an extremely good job of just keeping our offense on the field."
Lennon said his team played with a chip on its shoulder after beating South Dakota State last week. The Salukis will try to make it three straight wins over top-10 teams when they host No. 1 North Dakota State for Homecoming on Oct. 19.
"We figured to take that next step up in credibility, you have to beat a team like Northern Iowa, so that was a big motivation for us," Lennon said. "We're there, it's just we hadn't shown it in the end, so I think teams now are going to realize that we're probably better than what our record shows."