Quarterbacks impress during Saturday's Football scrimmage

    Mark Iannotti

    Mark Iannotti
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    April 12, 2014

    By Tom Weber

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - The quarterback derby at Southern Illinois is starting to heat up after all three signal callers had impressive performances in the team's full-contact scrimmage on Saturday at Saluki Stadium.

    Eastern Michigan transfer Mark Iannotti put up big numbers, completing 10-of-14 passes for 126 yards and three touchdowns, but Ryan West (9-of-13, 102 yards, 1 TD) and Matt Vincent (7-of-10, 71 yards) were also sharp.

    "All three quarterbacks stepped up and made some pretty impressive throws and did a good job of managing the offense," said head coach Dale Lennon. "All three want the spot. They're competing with all their heart and might."

    On the opening drive of the scrimmage, West marched the team 70 yards, completing all four of his passes, including a 14-yard scoring strike to LaSteven McKinney. Not to be out-done, Iannotti took the second-team offense 70 yards for a score, hitting tight end Josh Skadeland in stride on a post route for a 44-yard TD. Vincent then joined in the fun, making an 18-yard precision throw down the right sideline to Billy Reed to set up a three-yard TD run by Malcolm Agnew.

    McKinney, who led the team with 51 catches and five touchdowns last season, had a big day with eight catches for 76 yards and a score.

    "He's kind of been quiet this spring up until today, and part of that is we gave him some alignment advantages that he took advantage of," Lennon explained. "The (offense) got the ball to LaSteven in open space and let him make plays."



    After three-straight touchdown drives against his defense, Lennon exhorted his group to get going, and the defense came up with two-consecutive stops, including an interception by linebacker Dinnus Harding on an errant pass by Iannotti.

    "We have some pretty good playmakers that you have to defend, and that was a good wake-up call for us defensively that we need to step up our game."

    The running game was solid again this week for Southern. Agnew had 114 yards on just 16 attempts and found the end zone twice. His second score was a 28-yard draw play up the middle that capped off a 97-yard drive. Vincent checked out of a pass play when he saw an advantage at the line of scrimmage and the defense barely laid a hand on Agnew. Backup tailback Ken Malcome added 42 yards on 12 carries, including one touchdown.

    "(Malcolm) was close to being a thousand-yard rusher last year, and that's my hopes for any of our backs," Lennon said. "They should be able to be a thousand-yard rusher, whether it's Malcolm Agnew or Ken Malcome. Both backs showed today that they're pretty good."

    Starting center Tanner Crum made his first appearance in a scrimmage this spring and anchored SIU's offensive line, which has been nicked up with injuries. Lennon said he likes the progress the line is making and the limited numbers actually plays to their advantage in a scrimmage setting.

    "The same group stayed in, which gave them some continuity," he said. "We were rotating in about 30 different players (on defense) and there were a lot of mental mistakes out there."

    SIU will play its annual Spring Game next Friday at 7 p.m. at the stadium, and Lennon expects the defense to bounce back.

    "We've just been smacked in the face, and now we'll see how we respond," he said. "Up until this point the defense has had the upper hand, so it was really good to see the offense step up and make a statement today."

    Mark Iannotti - 10-14, 126 yds, 3 TD, 1 Int
    Ryan West - 9-13, 102 yds, 1 TD
    Matt Vincent - 7-10, 71 yds

    Malcolm Agnew - 16 att, 114 yds, 2 TD
    Ken Malcome - 12 att, 42 yds, 1 TD
    Matt Vincent - 4 att, 10 yds
    Mark Iannotti - 4 att, 8 yds
    Tay Willis - 1 att, 5 yds
    Ryan West - 1 att, 1 yd

    LaSteven McKinney - 8 rec, 76 yds, 1 TD
    Josh Skadeland - 1 rec, 44 yds, 1 TD
    Ahmad Hicks - 3 rec, 41 yds
    Tay Willis - 5 rec, 40 yds, 2 TD
    Billy Reed - 2 rec, 31 yds
    Mika'il McCall - 2 rec, 28 yds
    Jamaal Flowers - 1 rec, 19 yds
    Adam Fuehne - 2 rec, 9 yds
    Hans Carmien - 1 rec, 6 yds
    Kyle Newquist - 1 rec, 5 yds

    Chase Allen - 5.5 Tack, 1 TFL, 1 Sack
    Jordan Poole - 3.5 Tack
    D.J. Cameron - 3.5 Tack
    Brandon Willingham - 3.5 Tack
    Anthony Thompson - 3 Tack, 1 Pass Brk
    Keith Suggs - 2 Tack, 1 TFL
    Carl Bivens - 2 Tack, 1 TFL
    Khari Waithe-Alexander - 2 Tack
    Leonard Garron - 2 Tack
    Kevin Holmes - 2 Tack
    Octavian Cooper - 2 Tack
    Jermaine Hughes - 2 Tack
    Charles Harris - 1.5 Tack, 1 Pass Brk
    Boo Rodgers - 1.5 Tack
    Courtney Richmond - 1.5 Tack
    Tyler Williamson - 1.5 Tack
    Garrett Pougnet - 1.5 Tack
    Darius Merriweather - 1.5 Tack
    Marcus Miller - 1.5 Tack
    Brandon Miner - 1.5 Tack
    Torre Hopson - 1.5 Tack
    Lamonte Edwards - 1 Tack, 1 TFL, 1 Sack
    Blake Miller - 1 Tack, 1 TFL
    Anthony Greenbow - 1 Tack
    Calvin Belts - 1 Tack
    Kitray Solomon - 1 Tack
    Markese Jackson - 1 Tack
    Jory Cunningham - 1 Tack
    Dinnus Harding - 0.5 Tack, 1 Int