SIU faces test in home opener against No. 14/16 EIU

    Kory Faulkner set a school record for most passing yards in a season opener with 312 against Illinois.

    Kory Faulkner set a school record for most passing yards in a season opener with 312 against Illinois.
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    Sep 2, 2013

    No. 14/16 Eastern Illinois (1-0, 0-0 OVC) at Southern Illinois (0-1, 0-0 MVFC)
     Date Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013
     Time 6 p.m. CT
     Location Carbondale, Ill. - Saluki Stadium
     Video Saluki All-Access
     Radio Saluki Sports Network
     Game Notes Southern Illinois Get Acrobat Reader | Eastern Illinois Get Acrobat ReaderMVFC Get Acrobat Reader
     Live Stats Gametracker
     Season Stats Southern Illinois | Eastern Illinois | MVFC
     Social Media @SIU_Football


    Southern recorded 407 yards of total offense in the Illinois game, which broke a streak of eight games for the Dawgs’ offense without reaching the 400-yard mark.

    - Senior quarterback Kory Faulkner set a school record for passing yards in a season opener with 312 last week against Illinois.

    - Faulkner is the 11th player in school history to throw for 3,000 career yards. He enters the game with 3,662 career passing yards, which ranks 10th on SIU’s all-time list. He is 117 yards behind former NFL Pro Bowler Jim Hart for eighth on the all-time list.

    Against Eastern Illinois this week, Faulkner will make his 20th consecutive start. That is the longest such streak by an SIU quarterback since Nick Hill started 27-straight games over the course of the 2006 and 2007 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 35th consecutive start this week, and Youngstown State’s Kurt Hess, who will make his 34th consecutive start this week.

    Faulkner and the Salukis produced three passing plays for a gain of 35 yards or more in the 2013 season opener. In 2012, SIU’s offense had only four passes that went for 35 yards or more during the entire season. 

    Senior wideout John Lantz led the Salukis with a career-high 99 receiving yards last week and caught his first career touchdown pass, a 35-yarder.

    Lantz caught two passes of 35 yards or more against Illinois including a 39-yard reception, which was intitally ruled a touchdown but placed at the one after an official review.

    Sophomores Israel Lamprakes and Josh Sullivan and junior transfer Tay Willis each recorded the first reception of their SIU careers last Saturday against Illinois.

    Junior tight end MyCole Pruitt has 1,222 receiving yards for his career, which puts him at 14th on the all-time list. He is 320 yards away from matching former Jacksonville Jaguar Damon Jones for the most career receiving yards by a tight end in school history.

    With five receptions against Illinois, Pruitt moved up two spots into 11th place on the school’s all-time list with 97 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.

    Pruitt caught his eighth career touchdown reception last week, tying him for 14th place on SIU’s career list. His next touchdown catch will move him into a tie for 12th on the career list.

    Pruitt has recorded at least one reception in 22 of the 23 games in his SIU career.

    - Pruitt was 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.

    Junior running back Mika’il McCall has scored seven of his nine career SIU rushing touchdowns in SIU’s four nonconference games over the past two years.

    SIU has not had a 100-yard rusher in its last 12 games. The last Saluki to run for 100 yards was Jewel Hampton, who had 178 rushing yards against Indiana State on Nov. 19.


    - Five Saluki defenders made their first career start at Illinois. Those players are Adam Brandt (DE), Raysean Golden (NT), Dinnus Harding (ILB), Kitray Solomon (DE) and Tyler Williamson (OLB).

    - Senior inside linebacker Bryan Presume recorded 10 total tackles (three solo, seven assisted) against the Illini. It was the fourth time in his career he posted double-digit tackles. One of those instances was last season against Eastern Illinois when he posted 10 total tackles (six solo, four assisted).

    - SIU has held its opponent under 50 rushing yards and recorded at least five sacks in each of its last three games.

    - SIU has forced a turnover in seven consecutive games. 

    - Southern’s defense has recorded at least one sack in 27 consecutive games and the 40 of the previous 41 games.

    - Illinois finished with 49 rushing yards against SIU but was held to -19 rushing yards in the first half. The Illini gained 108 yards on the ground but lost yards on seven runs for a total loss of 59 yards. Included in that number is SIU’s five sacks for a loss of 45 yards.

    - Last week against Illinois, sophomore safety D.J. Cameron recorded his first interception of 2013 and the third of his career. He returned it 28 yards, which gives him 53 career interception return yards.

    - Terrell Wilson leads Southern defensive players in career games played (33), career starts (27) and consecutive starts (25). Wilson was the second-leading tackler at Illinois with nine (six solo, three assisted) and 1.0 tackle for loss.

    - Junior linebacker Tyler Williamson forced a fumble in the fourth quarter against Illinois.He is tied for sixth all-time at SIU with four career forced fumbles in only 12 career games at SIU. Williamson has had his hand in eight turnovers at SIU (four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, one interception, one blocked field goal).

    - Sophomore defensive end Brandon Williams recorded his first career sack against Illinois and finished the game with 1.5 sacks for a loss of 12 yards. He also recovered his second career fumble in the game. In 2012, he returned a fumble 55 yards for a touchdown at North Dakota State.

    - Junior linebacker Jordan Poole and redshirt freshman Chase Allen each recorded their first career sack at Illinois.

    - Junior transfer cornerback Chris Davis recorded seven total tackles (five solo, two assisted) in his first game with the Salukis against Illinois last week.

    - Last season against Eastern Illinois, Southern racked up five sacks on Panther quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. SIU had four games with at least five sacks in 2012 and already have one game with five in 2013.

    - SIU’s defense forced four fumbles against the Panthers in 2012, recovering four of them. Two of those fumbles were forced by Bryan Presume, and one was recovered by Terrell Wilson.

    - The Salukis totaled 10.0 tackles for loss against EIU last year, SIU’s second-most in a game behind the season finale against Western Illinois. In 10 of Southern’s 11 games in 2012, the Salukis posted at least 5.0 TFL.


    - Kick returner LaSteven McKinney returned a kick 60 yards against the Illini last week, the longest of his career and the longest for a Saluki since Steve Strother returned one 91 yards for a touchdown against SEMO at home in 2010.

    - McKinney led SIU against Illinois with 131 all-purpose yards, 73 from kick returns. His 60-yard return against Illinois was the longest by anyone in the MVFC last week.

    - McKinney had one punt return for six yards against the Illini, which moved him to seventh all-time at SIU in career punt return yardage (364) and seventh all-time in career punt returns (44).

    - Senior Austin Pucylowski punted six times, totaling 279 yards against the Illini last week. Two of his punts were pinned inside the 20-yard line, and his long was 64 yards, one yard off his career high.

    - Pucylowski is ranked sixth all-time at SIU in career punting average (39.75), seventh in career punting yards (6,757) and seventh in career punt attempts (170).

    - Last week in his Saluki debut, junior transfer kicker Thomas Kinney nailed both of his field goal attempts, from 20 and 41 yards out. The 41-yarder matched the longest by a kicker in the MVFC in the first week of this season.

    - Against Illinois last week, Kinney became the first Saluki kicker to score 10 points in a single game since Kyle Dougherty did so at home against Quincy in 2010.

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

    - Phil Steele Magazine named McKinney the tenth best punt returner in the country and Pucylowski the 29th-best punter in the nation prior to the season.


    - Southern Illinois has won 11 consecutive home openers and is 5-0 under Dale Lennon in home openers.

    - The Salukis have won 19 of their last 20 regular season non-conference home games.

    - This is Southern’s first regular season home game against a ranked non-conference opponent since defeating No. 20 North Dakota State 9-0 on Nov. 19, 2005.


    - Eastern Illinois is coming off of a 40-19 win at FBS San Diego State last week. The Panthers were picked to win the OVC and received 12 of 18 first place votes in the conference’s preseason poll.

    - EIU wide receiver Erik Lora was the 2012 OVC Offensive Player of the Year. He had 10 receptions for 87 yards and two touchdowns last week against the Aztecs.

    - Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was a Payton Award finalist in 2012 when he opened the season by throwing for 369 yards and five touchdowns against SIU. That earned him The Sports Network National Offensive Player of the Week honors.


    - Southern Illinois leads the all-time series, 40-26, and is 24-11 at home against the Panthers.  

    - SIU has won four of the last five meetings. Three of those wins came in playoff games.

    - The Salukis have won three-straight home games against Eastern Illinois. The last time SIU lost to EIU in Carbondale was in 1995.


    - Dale Lennon is in 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 59 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