Football roughs up Hampton, 45-27

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    Nov. 17, 2007

    Final Stats -- Photo Gallery

    By Jeff Honza

    HAMPTON, Va. - Nick Hill threw for 282 yards and three touchdowns, John Randle and Richard White each scored a pair of touchdowns, and Phil Goforth caught seven passes for a career-high 123 yards to lead No. 5 Southern Illinois (10-1) to a 45-27 win over Hampton (6-5) earlier today at Armstrong Stadium.

    SIU led 21-6 at the half, before the game turned into a shootout, with the two teams scoring a combined 45 points in the second half.

    The Salukis concluded the regular-season at 10-1, matching their best regular-season record. SIU also went 10-1 during the 1983 and 2003 regular-season campaigns.

    It was a rather jagged start for SIU.

    The Saluks were flagged seven times for a loss of 71 yards in the first half, but scored 14 points in the second quarter to fuel a 21-6 halftime lead.

    After a penalty and timeout by SIU, John Randle broke free up the right hashmark for a 76-yard touchdown on the first play.

    Randle's TD, which came just 24 seconds into the game, marked the longest run from scrimmage by a Saluki and second-longest by a Gateway Conference running back this season.

    HU marched 83 yards on 15 plays and had a golden chance to punch the ball in the end zone when it faced a 1st-and-Goal.

    The Salukis, however, denied the Pirates, who ended up settling for a 22-yard field goal by Carlo Turavani with 12:15 left in the second quarter.

    Craig Turner returned a punt for 16 yards to set up SIU's next possession in excellent field position at the Pirates 29-yardline.



    Three plays later, Nick Hill found a wide open Ryan Kernes for a 6-yard touchdown to push SIU's lead to 14-3.

    HU again had a 1st-and-Goal after going 59 yards on 12 plays, but SIU's defense stuffed the Pirates. The drive resulted in another 22-yard field goal by Turavani, as HU diced the lead to 14-6.

    SIU took over on downs one last time before the half.

    The Salukis proceeded to go 58 yards in six plays. Hill completed a pass to Justin Allen, who got by three defenders, stayed in bounds along the near sideline and ran 29 yards into the end zone to give SIU a 21-6 boost.

    Then, things went haywire in the second half when HU and SIU traded points on six-straight possessions.

    TJ Mitchell hooked up with Jeremy Gilchrist for a 24-yard touchdown at the 4:18 mark of the third quarter.

    SIU answered with a 2-yard touchdown run by Richard White that capped an 8-play, 64-yard drive with 1:23 left.

    Another 24-yard touchdown pass, this time from Mitchell to Kevin Teel, followed by a two-point conversion, narrowed the Saluki lead to 28-20 early in the fourth quarter.

    But, SIU reached paydirt on the ensuing possession.

    Hill threaded a 36-yard pass in between two defenders to Goforth on a 3rd-and-12 to get the Dawgs deep into HU territory. Three plays later, Hill threw a 28-yard TD to Randle to give SIU a 35-20 cushion with just under 12 minutes (11:58) to play.

    HU responded the next time it had the ball when an 8-play, 73-yard drive culminated in a 41-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell to Derrin McPherson at the 8:41 mark.

    Kyle Dougherty split the uprights from 31 yards out to extend SIU's lead to 38-27 with 5:55 remaining.

    Then, the defense came up with a huge turnover which allowed the Salukis to sink the Pirates for good.

    Devon Reese jarred the ball loose from HU running back Kevin Beverly and Tony Colletti recovered at the Pirates 30-yard line.

    Hill broke free for a 27-yard scamper to give the Salukis a 1st-and-Goal at the HU 3. White took over from there, plunging into the end zone from three yards out to secure the 45-27 win.

    "We knew that Hampton was going to be right with us in this game," said Saluki head coach Jerry Kill. "I'm happy to get out of here with a win."

    Hill completed 24-of-28 passes for 282 yards and three TDs. He also rushed for 67 yards on 10 carries. Hill now ranks second all-time at SIU with 41 career passing TDs.

    "Nick has had a great season and continues to make big plays every game," said Kill. "What's even more impressive is how he has been making things happen with his feet. He's a very mobile quarterback."

    Randle rushed for a game-high 88 yards on eight carries to lead a Saluki rushing attack which picked up 192 yards on the day.

    Receiving wise, Goforth caught five or more passes for the third game in a row. Allen followed with 58 yards on six catches.

    HU had the ball nearly six minutes more than SIU and ran 74 plays to the Salukis' 61.

    Mitchell completed 23-of-37 passes for 280 yards and three touchdowns to pave the way for the Pirates.

    SIU, which is pushing for one of the top-four seeds in this year's NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs, will meet for Selection Sunday. The Selection Show will air live at 2:30 p.m., CST, on ESPNU. The team will gather at Copper Dragon in Carbondale and the event is open to the public. Doors open at 1:45 p.m.