Southern rewind: No. 14 Salukis fail to hold lead, bow to South Dakota

Javon Williams Jr. had 12 touches on offense for Southern Illinois. (Photo by

By Dan Verdun

Fourteenth-ranked Southern Illinois failed to hold a double-digit halftime lead and fell in defeat at South Dakota in Saturday’s Missouri Valley Football Conference action, 27-24.

Eddie Ogamba kicked a 44-yard field goal with 2:31 remaining to lift USD (2-5, 1-3) over the Salukis (5-3, 4-1). The loss snapped a five-game SIU win streak.

“We couldn’t get any life going in the second half. They completely outplayed us,” SIU head coach Nick Hill said. “We couldn’t sustain drives, couldn’t hit that big play.”

Hill added that Saturday’s offensive performance has been an ongoing problem.

“That’s not new, that’s kind of how we’ve been all season,” he said.

The Salukis built a 21-10 halftime lead but managed just a field goal in the second half.

South Dakota got its spark when redshirt freshman Aidan Bouman replaced Carson Camp at quarterback.

Bouman, a left-handed transfer from Iowa State, entered the game with 2:43 left in the second quarter and his team trailing 21-7.

Bouman, making his collegiate debut, guided USD to a field goal and then a touchdown to rally the Coyotes.

Nick Hill

“Looking back, (that was) a big point in the game. They got 10 points in a row,” Hill said.

“You go into every single game ready to compete and take my opportunity, make the best of it and play my role like I needed to,” Bouman said on

Bouman finished the game 11-of-17 passing for 120 yards and a touchdown throw.

South Dakota outgained Southern Illinois 285-126 after Bouman took the field.

SIU’s run defense entered Saturday’s game allowing 80.7 yards per game, which ranked ninth in the country.

Yet, the Coyotes wound up with two players who rushed for more than 100 yards Shomari Lawrence (122) and Travis Theis (108).

“Overall, I think we need to be a more physical team,” SIU defensive end Richie Hagarty said.

Game changers

9:35, 4th quarter: SIU lined up on offense to snap the ball on a 4th-and-inches call. However, the Salukis were penalized for an illegal formation with five players in the backfield. Pushed back five yards, SIU elected to punt.

5:00, 4th quarter: The Salukis gambled on fourth down. With the play clock running down, quarterback Nic Baker pressured off both edges threw an interception.

2:15, 4th quarter: Faced with a 4th-and-10, SIU’s last gasp ended when Baker was sacked as USD’s downfield coverage forced him to hold onto the ball while trying to find an open receiver.

What it means

The Salukis suffered their first conference loss, dropping them out of a first-place tie with South Dakota State, the No. 1-ranked team in FCS. SDSU throttled North Dakota 49-35 Saturday.

Top ‘Dawgs

Prairie State Pigskin chooses the top three Saluki players in the game:

Ro Elliott, RB: The junior rushed 16 times for 100 yards and caught five passes for 18 yards.

D’Ante’ Cox, WR: The senior led all receivers with seven catches for 70 yards.

Hagarty, DE: The sophomore registered four tackles, two for loss. He collected a sack, giving him 7.5 on the season.

What’s next?

SIU hosts Northern Iowa Oct. 29 in Carbondale. Kickoff is 2 p.m.

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