Oct. 14, 2006
By Jeff Honza
NORMAL, Ill. - Luke Drone threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns, while Pierre Jackson and Jason Horton each had over 100 receiving yards to lead No. 5 Illinois State (5-1, 2-0) to a commanding 37-10 win over No. 7 Southern Illinois (5-1, 2-1) earlier today at Hancock Stadium.
The Redbirds trailed, 10-7, but responded with 30 unanswered points en route to handing the Salukis their first loss of the season in front of a crowd of 17,237. It was ISU's largest single-game attendance in 30 years.
"Today was a team breakdown. I think that we got beat in all phases of the game," said Saluki head coach Jerry Kill. "We didn't play good team football."
Braden Jones' 9-yard touchdown catch gave SIU a three-point edge with 11:47 left in the second quarter, but after that, the Salukis didn't score again.
Rafael Rice's 17-yard touchdown run and Kevin Mazur's 20-yard field goal came on the next two Redbird possessions, as ISU took a 17-10 lead at the half.
Cameron Siskowic picked off a Nick Hill pass at SIU's 33-yard line to set up Mazur's field goal just before the intermission.
ISU continued to pour it on when Drone threw huge back-to-back touchdown passes on the the Redbirds' first two drives of the second half.
Drone hooked up with Jackson for a 36-yard strike on the sixth play of the third quarter to cap a 6 play, 62-yard march at the 12:22 mark.
He then found a wide open Horton for a 68-yard touchdown on ISU's next drive following a Saluki punt. ISU went 93 yards in just three plays to extend its lead to 30-10.
One more touchdown, this time a 6-yard run by Rice put the finishing touches on the Redbirds' 37-10 victory.
Arkee Whitlock rushed for 140 yards on 27 carries to lead a Saluki rushing attack which was held to under 200 yards for the first time this season. SIU had 191 yards on 42 rushing attempts.
ISU nearly had 500 yards (499) of total offense, including 219 on the ground and 280 through the air.
Pierre Rembert rushed for 137 yards and one touchdown to lead the Redbird backfield.
Meanwhile, Jackson had five catches for 113 yards and Horton hauled in four receptions for 120 yards to key ISU's receiving corps. The duo also accounted for one TD apiece.
The Redbirds went the entire day without turning the ball over as well.
"We worked well together in the first five games this season," said Kill. "Offense, defense and special teams complemented each other well and that didn't happen today. This one will hurt today, but we'll get right back to work on Sunday. That's part of being in the Gateway."
SIU returns home to face Western Kentucky on Oct. 21.
Game Notes:SIU ran into a hostile environment on the Redbirds' Homecoming at Hancock Stadium today...many plastic footballs were thrown from the ISU student section at Saluki players prior to the start of the game...the Redbirds were later assessed a penalty after the unsportsmanlike conduct from the stands continued, despite several warnings from the PA announcer...Nick Hill threw an interception for the first time in his Saluki career...he had thrown 103 consecutive passes without an interception prior to Siskowic's pick in the second quarter...Arkee Whitlock has rushed for over 100 yards in six-straight games...the Saluki defense, which entered he day allowing 19.6 points per game, gave up 37, the most in a game since Appalachian State scored 38 against the Dawgs in the NCAA I-AA Playoffs a year ago...SIU is now 4-3 when facing Top-10 teams as a Top-10 team itself...ISU has outscored SIU, 98-45, in the last two matchups between these teams.