For those of you who are not familiar with Southern Illinois University, the RedHawks' opponent this week, I've compiled a list of facts and notes for your convenience. Miami plays SIU in its home opener Saturday at 1 p.m. at Yager Stadium.
- Southern Illinois, a member of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), is looking for its first win over a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponent since 2007. The Salukis beat Northern Illinois in 2007 and Indiana a year earlier in 2006. Last season, SIU played only one FBS opponent, losing to Ole Miss, 42-24.
- Southern Illinois was picked to finish seventh in the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) preseason poll. The Salukis finished tied for seventh in the MVFC last season with a 2-6 record.
- Southern Illinois quarterback Kory Faulkner sustained a mild concussion last week in the team's season opening 49-28 loss to Eastern Illinois. He is expected to play against the RedHawks Saturday. The junior completed 31 of 58 passes for 293 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
- SIU running back Mika'll McCall had 146 total yards from scrimmage vs. Eastern Illinois. The sophomore tallied 56 yards rushing on 11 carries and added 90 yards receiving on four catches.
- The Salukis gave up seven passing touchdowns against Eastern Illinois and allowed 522 yards of total offense (433 passing and 89 rushing).
- SIU defender Eze Obiora earned National Defensive Lineman of the Week honors after recording three sacks against Eastern Illinois.
- Dating back to the end of last year, Southern Illinois has forced at least three turnovers in four consecutive games and five of the last six.
SIU Quotes on Miami
Head coach Dale Lennon answered questions during a Monday press conference.
Q: Miami gave up 44 sacks last year. Do you feel like you can get a lot of pressure on them?
A: Well, that's to be determined, but that's what we do. We feel that we can do that going into every game. I do think it's a stage where our players are looking forward to it, and I think they will step their level of play up also. Hopefully that translates into improved performance.
Q: Do you expect Miami to come out throwing, or will they try to establish their running game?
A: I think they definitely try to establish the run game. Their strength is their pass. I wouldn't be surprised if they test us deep early. I expect to see some deep balls early in the game.
Q: Can you get any useful information out of watching Miami (Ohio) play a big school such as Ohio State that you can transfer to our level?
A: We exchanged tape with them, and watched them on TV, but it's football. You don't have to look too far to see elite teams have success against teams that people thought didn't have a chance to even be on the same field. You have to play your game. You have to play at a high level. You can't give up easy scores. If you do that, you'll give yourself a chance to be competitive, and we want to go get a win. We play in a conference that we think is very competitive top to bottom that is capable at performing at a high level. We like to think we can line up and play some good football.
Q: When you know what's coming from this team, and you actually have film of them, is that easier for you guys to prepare?
A: Yeah, it is nice. We know what we are going to see, what their strengths are, and their strengths are very impressive. You do take comfort knowing the fact that Zac Dysert is going to throw the football a little bit. You feel like you're more prepared because you know how they are going to attack you.
Q: Do you expect to use the underdog role for Saturday?
A: We didn't have a good game on Thursday night. The focus will be a lot on us. With motivation you have to be in the right state of mind to use certain things. Right now I'm more concerned about us than playing the underdog or anything else. We need to make sure we know who we are, and then we can put our best game on the field.