Carbondale, Ill. - The No. 18 Youngstown State football team dropped a 35-10 decision to Southern Illinois on Saturday afternoon at Saluki Stadium.
The defeat drops the Penguins to 4-3 overall and 0-3 in the MVFC while Southern Illinois improves to 3-4 and 1-2.
YSU took a 3-0 lead on its initial possession of the game. The Penguins moved swiftly to the SIU 20-yard line before the drive stalled at the 13-yard line. Colt McFadden was called on to kick a 31-yard field goal and he gave the Penguins a three-point lead with 9:04 left in the first quarter.
The Salukis answered by scoring the next four touchdowns to build a 28-3 lead midway through the second quarter.
SIU moved 75 yards in eight plays as running back Javon Williams, Jr., took a direct snap and smashed it up the middle for seven-yard touchdown at the the 5:27 mark. On its very next offensive series, Kare Lyles threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Landon Lenoir on the first play giving the Salukis a pair of touchdowns in a span of 1:42 to increase the lead to 14-3.
SIU pushed its lead up to 21-3 early in the second quarter when Romeir Elliott scored on a three-yard run. The Penguins defense stiffened with SIU facing a fourth-and-1 at the three-yard line. Elliott took a handoff and raced around the right side untouched for a score.
Southern had another one-play scoring drive as Lyles fould Williams again for a score, this time for a 73-yard touchdown with 8:44 left in the second quarter.
YSU found some offense just before halftime with an impressive eight-play, 90-yard drive. Taking over at their own 10 with 1:09 remaining and no timeouts, the Guins moved to the SIU 22-yard line in six plays. After a spike to kill the clock, Nathan Mays found Ryan Emans on a 22-yard touchdown toss with just nine seconds left in the first half to cut the deficit to 28-10.
In the first half, SIU had 279 yards of total offense, including 148 through the air - 126 yards of which came on two touchdown completions. YSU had 179 yards while Mays was 12-of-18 for 134 yards and a score.
SIU used a 41-yard pass from Williams to Jacob Garrett on a fourth-and-3 play from the YSU 41-yard line to go in front 35-10. The Guins opened the half driving to the SIU 34-yard line before the drive stalled. The Salukis moved to the YSU 41-yard line and on fourth down, Williams found a wide open Garrett for the touchdown.
The Penguins return to Stambaugh Stadium next Saturday to take on Western Illinois. Kickoff against the Leathernecks is set for 2 p.m.