Football heads to Indiana State for the season finale

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    Nov. 16, 2011

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    Game Day Quick Facts

    Game 11 // Conference Game 8 // Nov. 19, 2011
    1:05 p.m. CT // Terre Haute, Ind. // Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf; 12,746)

    RADIO: Saluki Sports Network with Mike Reis (play-by-play), Gene Green and Joel Sambursky on WVZA 105.1-FM in Carbondale.

    SIU travels to Terre Haute, Ind., for the season finale. Kickoff against Indiana State is set for 1:05 p.m. CT...Fans can listen to the game on the Saluki Sports Network with the call of Hall of Fame broadcaster Mike Reis, who will be joined by Gene Green and Joel Sambursky. Tune into WVZA 105.1 in Carbondale to hear Reis' call. The game will not air on the other stations in the radio network except WVZA 105.1...The 2011 season marks the 99th year of football at Southern Illinois and the 96th season fielding a team (SIU did not have teams in 1918, 1920 and 1943 because of the World Wars)...Primary Care Group won the top bid for the Black Out Cancer jersey and picked Mike McElroy's jersey to honor Jack Nolen...Jewel Hampton leads the conference with 15 touchdowns...Jayson DiManche has climbed into the top 20 in school history in career tackles for loss...Head coach Dale Lennon tied Carmen Piccone for the sixth most victories in school history with 28.

    Saluki Headlines
    • The Black Out Cancer campaign raised $89,890 from winning bids, and school officials anticipate the total sum of gifts to the campaign will exceed $100,000.
    Jewel Hampton was named MVFC Newcomer of the Week for his 110 yard, two touchdown performance last week against Eastern Illinois.
    • SIU has won the regular season finale in seven consecutive years.

    For Starters...
    The SIU defense will have its hands full with ISU running back Shakir Bell, who averages better than 150 yards per game and has already broken Indiana State's school record for single-season rushing yards. The SIU defense only allows 124.5 yards rushing per game, which is 27th in a country. Only two rushers have gained 100 yards against SIU, but the Salukis lost both of those games. Twice this year, SIU has held the opposing team under 100 yards, going 1-1 in those games. Bell has only been held under 100 yards twice this season. He was held to 43 yards on 13 carries in the season opener against Penn State, and North Dakota State limited him to 81 yards on 16 carries. He was held to 123 yards against Illinois State and 131 yards. He rushed for at least 145 yards in every other game this season, including 145 yards on just 14 carries against Northern Iowa.

    The Indiana State Sycamores
    Indiana State secured its second straight winning season with last week's 28-20 victory over Missouri State. After dropping the season opener to Penn State, the Sycamores ran off four straight wins, but they dropped three out of four before last week's win. In wins, the Indiana State offense has been dominant, scoring an average of 40 points per game. In the losses, ISU averages just 11.5 points per game. The Sycamores are led by fourth-year head coach Trent Miles. After winning just one game in his first two seasons, Miles has guided ISU to back-to-back six-win seasons. Last year, Miles became the first coach in the history of the school to win MVFC Coach of the Year honors.

    Record-setting running back Shakir Bell leads the ISU offense. Bell, a sophomore, leads the nation in rushing by 20 yards per game and averages 7.4 yards per rush. Bell is coming off a 206-yard performance against Missouri State, pushing his season total to 1,533 yards, the most in Indiana State history. Since the season opening game against Penn State, Bell has been held under 100 yards only once, against North Dakota State. He has been over 195 yards five times. Ronnie Fouch leads the Sycamore passing attack. Fouch has thrown for 1,769 yards, 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

    Defensively, Ben Obaseki has 13.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks, along with nine quarterback hurries. Three players have more than 100 tackles on the year, Aaron Archie, Jacolby Washington and Alex Sewall. Obaseki and Sewall are two of four Sycamores to be named MVFC Defensive Player of the Week during the season.

    SIU vs. ISU - The Series
    Southern Illinois and Indiana State played their first contest in 1944. This year's matchup will be the 49th meeting between the schools. After Indiana State won nine straight meetings from 1994 to 2002, the Salukis have reeled off eight straight wins, all of them in decisive fashion. The closest game since the winning streak started was a 42-20 win in 2005, and SIU has won the last eight games by an average of 40 points per game. After the loss to Western Illinois broke a nine-game winning streak against the Leathernecks, Southern's longest winning streak against a single opponent is the eight-game stretch against the Sycamores.

    Last year, SIU jumped out to a 21-0 lead, only to have Indiana State answer with 21 straight points of its own. The defense pitched a shutout in the second half and SIU went on to the rout, 49-21, on Senior Day in Carbondale. Chris Dieker led the way with 279 passing yards on just 19 throws, throwing four touchdowns to four different receivers. Steve Strother led the rushing attack with 73 yards, but it was Dieker who pounded in two additional rushing touchdowns.

    Hampton earns MVFC Newcomer of the Week honors
    Junior running back Jewel Hampton was named Missouri Valley Football Conference Newcomer of the Week after SIU's 45-28 win over Eastern Illinois. Hampton rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns, and he added career highs with four receptions and 59 receiving yards.

    Hampton has been one of the best newcomers in the conference. He leads the MVFC in touchdowns with 15, which also ranks seventh on SIU's single-season rushing touchdown list. He has six multiple-touchdown games this season, including each of the last three, and five 100-yard rushing performances. He set career highs with 167 yards on 28 carries against South Dakota State, and he had another career high with a 56-yard touchdown run. Only six other players in school history have recorded six 100-yard games in a season.

    Hampton had 943 rushing yards this season, putting him just 57 yards shy of becoming the 19th player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. SIU had a player rush for 1,000 yards in every season from 1998-2009 but didn't have a player reach the milestone last year.

    The Salukis have had a player honored by the conference after each win. After the season-opening win against SEMO, Jessy McMullin was named Offensive Lineman of the Week. After kicking the game-winning field goal against Missouri State, Jackson MacLachlan earned Special Teams Player of the Week honors.

    Cole steps up
    SIU senior Scott Cole is finishing his senior season strong. After recording 19 tackles in the season's first eight games, Cole has led the team in tackles in each of the last two games, picking up 17 tackles in the last two weeks. On Senior Day against Eastern Illinois, Cole tied a season high by any player with 3.0 tackles for loss, leading the way for 11.0 team tackles for loss. The 11.0 TFLs the team compiled are the most by SIU in two years.

    Strother nearing kick return records
    Steve Strother's 2011 kick return campaign might be one for the record books. Strother has six kick returns of 35 yards or more, and he's compiled 695 kickoff return yards, the second best single-season total in school history, just 61 yards from Craig Turner's record, set in 2007. His big 2011 campaign has pushed his career kickoff return yard total to 1,116. Strother is 32 yards away from moving into fourth in school history in career kick return yards.

    Six picks in last two weeks
    SIU's defense struggled to get interceptions until the last two weeks. The Salukis only recorded four interceptions in the first eight games of the season, and three of those picks came in the Missoui State game. In each of the last two weeks, SIU has had three interceptions. Of the Salukis' 10 intercpetions, nine have come in the three three-pick games. Since Lennon and defensive coordinator Bubba Schweigert came to Carbondale four years ago, SIU has recorded 10 three-intercpetion games. The Salukis also had three three-interception games in 2009. The seven turnovers forced in the last two weeks have bumped SIU's turnover margin to +3 after spending most of the season with more turnovers than turnovers forced.

    Black Out Cancer Game raises over $100,000 for cancer research
    Senior safety Mike McElroy petitioned the NCAA to allow Southern Illinois to auction off the names on the backs of the jerseys for the Eastern Illinois game. After initially being rejected, McElroy personally hand wrote a letter to the NCAA and was granted a one-time waiver for the event. SIU raised private funds to buy the jerseys, and 80 bidders won the right to pick a name of a cancer victim or survivor for the back of their jersey. After the game, bidders will get their jersey to keep. Nearly 200 people bid on the 80 jerseys, with the top 80 bidders winning a jersey.

    The winning bidders from the 80 jerseys totaled $89,890, and school officials expect donations to push the total over $100,000. All the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society and Coaches vs. Cancer. Some examples of bidders and the significance of the names on the jerseys are listed on page 7 in the PDF at the top of the page.