No. 17-ranked Southern Illinois was unstoppable by land and by air during a 38-10 win over Southeast Missouri State Saturday, Sept. 3 in the season opener for both schools.
The Salukis (1-0) compiled 240 yards rushing and 254 yards passing, nearly doubling up the Redhawks (0-1) in total yardage.
A year after SEMO rallied from a 17-point second-half deficit to stun SIU, 24-21, there was never any hint of an upset brewing in the hot, humid air of Houck Stadium.
On the second play from scrimmage, Saluki tailback Steve Strother broke a 62-yard touchdown run down the right sideline.
While Strother totaled 100 yards combined rushing and receiving, Iowa transfer Jewel Hampton was equally effective out of the Saluki backfield. Playing in his first game in more than a year because of a knee injury, Hampton pounded the ball between the tackles for 64 yards and three touchdowns.
Orchestrating the Saluki attack was quarterback Paul McIntosh. After the ground game bruised the Redhawks defense, McIntosh burned it deep. He completed 14-of-18 passes for a career-high 246 yards. He had pass completions of 70 yards (Cam Fuller), 31 yards (MyCole Pruitt), 30 yards (LaSteven McKinney) and 28 yards.
For a team that had question marks at numerous positions, Lennon was happy with the answers he got on opening day.
"I think we gave a little glimpse of the type of season we can have," he said.
For much more game coverage, and a glimpse at what awaits next weekend at Mississippi, see this Wednesday's issue of the Carbondale Times. For more of this article from Saluki Athletics, see SIUSalukis.com.