Salukis prepare for season opener at Illinois

    Senior captain Kory Faulkner

    Senior captain Kory Faulkner
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    Aug 26, 2013

    Southern Illinois (0-0, 0-0 MVFC) at Illinois (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
     Date Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013
     Time 11 a.m. CT
     Location Champaign, Ill. - Memorial Stadium
     Television Big Ten Network | BTN GameFinder
     Radio Saluki Sports Network
     Game Notes Southern Illinois Get Acrobat Reader |Illinois Get Acrobat Reader | MVFC Get Acrobat Reader
     Live Stats Gametracker
     2012 Stats Southern Illinois | Illinois | MVFC
     Social Media @SIU_Football


    - Senior quarterback Kory Faulkner is the 11th player in school history to throw for 3,000 career yards. He enters the game with 3,350 career passing yards, which ranks 10th on SIU’s all-time list.

    - Kory Faulkner will be making his 19th consecutive start at quarterback for the Salukis, the longest such streak by an SIU quarterback since Chris Dieker started 19 straight games over the 2008 and 2009 seasons. It is also the third longest active streak in the Missouri Valley Football Conference behind North Dakota State’s Brock Jensen, who will make his 34th consecutive start this week, and Youngstown State’s Kurt Hess, who will make his 33rd consecutive start this week.

    - Kory Faulkner completed 191 passes in 2012, the fourth highest single-season total in school history. His 59.0 percent career completion percentage is also fourth highest in school history.

    - Junior tight end MyCole Pruitt is the 20th player in school history to record 1,000 career receiving yards. He has 1,139 receiving yards for his career, which puts him at 14th on the all-time list. He is 403 yards away from matching former Jacksonville Jaguar Damon Jones for the most career receiving yards by a tight end in school history.

    - MyCole Pruitt ranks 13th on the school’s all-time list with 92 career receptions. He has the second most receptions by a tight end in school history, trailing only Damon Jones, who caught 99 passes in his career.

    - MyCole Pruitt’s next touchdown reception will give him eight for his career, tying him for 14th place on SIU’s career list.

    - MyCole Pruitt has recorded at least one reception in 21 of the 22 games he has played in his career.

    - MyCole Pruitt has been named a preseason second-team All-American by The Sports Network and Phil Steele Magazine. He is also a member of the MVFC Preseason Team.

    - Four of SIU’s top five leaders in receiving yards from 2012 return this season. Southern threw for 1,900 yards in 2012, and the returning players accounted for 1,427 of those receiving yards (75%).

    - Junior running back Mika’il McCall scored six of his eight rushing touchdowns in SIU’s three nonconference games in 2012.

    - Junior wide receiver LaSteven McKinney scored a touchdown in three of the last four games of the 2012 season. That includes two touchdown receptions and one rushing score.

    - LaSteven McKinney is SIU’s second leading returning letterman in both rushing yards (131) and receiving yards (363).


    - All three members of SIU’s defensive line and two of its starting four linebackers in 2012 were seniors.

    - Southern lost 15.5 sacks, 29 TFL and 165 tackles from graduated defensive linemen Ken Boatright, Kayon Swanson and Eze Obiora. This year’s starting starting line of sophomore defensive end Brandon Williams, sophomore nose tackle TJ Beelen and junior defensive end Blake Miller has 40 games of experience, but Beelen and Miller each have only one career start while Williams has zero. 

    - Southern returns four starters from its defense last year, including senior inside linebacker Bryan Presume, who led the team with 78 tackles.

    - The Salukis return three of their top five tacklers from 2012. Those returners are Bryan Presume (78 tackles), senior cornerback Terrell Wilson (60 tackles) and sophomore safety D.J. Cameron (58 tackles).

    - All of SIU’s defensive starters have played at least 10 games for the Salukis. Three sophomore Saluki starters played 10 games in 2012 as either true freshmen (TJ Beelen and Brandon Williams) or redshirt freshmen (D.J. Cameron).

    - Terrell Wilson leads defensive Saluki returnees in career games played (32) and led Southern with nine passes defended (eight breakups and one interception) in 2012.

    - Of the 48 combined interceptions, forced fumbles, fumble recoveries and blocked kicks recorded in 2012, 31 were performed by returning members of the 2013 squad.

    - Seven of the nine interceptions recorded in 2012 were picked off by current Salukis, including two by 2012 team leader -- sophomore safety D.J. Cameron.

    - The 2012 Salukis had a streak of six straight games (Oct. 6-Nov. 17) and seven out of eight games in which they scored non-offensive points.

    - In back-to-back games last season, the Salukis scored on offense, defense and special teams (Northern Iowa, 10/13/12 and Youngstown State, 10/20/12).

    - The Saluki defense scored six touchdowns last season (three fumble recoveries, three interceptions) and blocked six kicks (four punts, one field goal and one PAT). Three of those blocked punts were returned for touchdowns. 

    - Cornerback Courtney Richmond and safety Anthony Thompson each returned a blocked punt for a score in 2012.

    - Five current Salukis scored a defensive touchdown in 2012. That list includes Anthony Thompson (2 touchdowns), Bryan Presume, Courtney Richmond, Tyler Williamson and Brandon Williams.

    - In 2012 SIU had two 100-yard defensive plays. Bryan Presume returned a fumble 100 yards for a touchdown against Northern Iowa (10/13/12).  The following week, Anthony Thompson returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown at Youngstown State (10/20/12).

    - Junior linebacker Tyler Williamson had his hand in a team-leading seven turnovers in 2012. He led the team with three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He also had one interception and one blocked kick.

    - Tyler Williamson had 4.5 sacks a year ago, which leads all Saluki returnees.


    - Wide receiver/return specialist LaSteven McKinney and punter Austin Pucylowski were both All-Conference honorable mentions in 2012.

    - LaSteven McKinney averaged 9.0 yards per punt return in 2012, second highest in the MVFC. McKinney has also been named Phil Steele Magazine’s tenth best punt returner in the country heading into 2013.

    - LaSteven McKinney is eighth all-time at SIU in career punt return yardage (358).

    - Senior punter Austin Pucylowski has been ranked the 29th-best punter in the nation by Phil Steele Magazine.

    - Last season, Austin Pucylowski pinned 23 punts inside the 20, second most in the MVFC.

    - Austin Pucylowski is ranked sixth all-time at SIU in career punting average (39.50), seventh in career punting yards (6,478) and seventh in career punt attempts (164).

    - Southern’s special teams scored on blocked punts in three consecutive games in 2012 (Oct. 6-Oct. 20).

    - SIU blocked six kicks (four punts, one field goal and one PAT) in 2012 -- all in a four-game stretch from Oct. 6-Oct. 27.

    - Junior Thomas Kinney will make his debut as the starting placekicker for the Salukis. In two years at Division II Winona State, he was 19-of-30 on field goal attempts with a career long of 45 yards.


    - Southern Illinois is opening the season on the road for the third year in a row.

    - The Salukis are 3-2 in season-opening games under Dale Lennon.

    - This is the first time since 2009 that SIU opens the season against an FBS opponent. That year the Salukis opened with a 31-28 loss at Marshall.

    - Southern Illinois is one of five Missouri Valley Football Conference teams opening the season this week against an FBS opponent.


    - Illinois is coming off of a 2-10 season and enters the season on a nine-game losing streak.

    - The Fighting Illini ranked 12th in the Big Ten in total offense and 10th in total defense in 2012. However, their strength was passing defense, holding opponents to 193.7 passing yards per game.


    - Illinois leads the all-time series, 3-0, with all three of the games being played at Illinois’ Memorial Stadium. The Illini have outscored SIU by a margin of 119-49 in those three games.  

    - The two teams first played each other in 1985. In 2010, llinois won the last meeting by a score of 35-3.


    - This is the 10th year in a row that Southern Illinois will face an FBS opponent in the first month of the season. During that stretch, SIU is 2-7 against FBS teams with wins against Indiana in 2006 and and Northern Illinois in 2007.

    - Dale Lennon is entering his sixth season as head coach at SIU. That moves him into sixth place on SIU's all-time list for years coached. He passes Carmen Piccone and Bob Smith who each led the Salukis for five seasons.

    - Dale Lennon enters the game having coached 58 games at SIU, sixth most in school history. With the 12th and final game of the regular season, he will surpass Dick Towers to move into fifth place.

    - Saluki Athletics is celebrating a century of Saluki Football this season. The SIU football program began in 1913 and has run continuously with the exception of 1918, 1920 and 1943 due to World Wars.

    - Southern Illinois will host its third annual Black Out Cancer game on Saturday, Sept. 28 during the game against Youngstown State. Fans can bid to put their name or the name of a loved one who has been affected by cancer on one of the 80 special black jerseys that the Salukis will wear during the game. Bids can be placed at