HAMMOND, La. – The No. 15/17 Southeastern Louisiana football team will close out the 2020-21 regular season on Saturday with a noon nonconference contest at No. 17/18 Southern Illinois in Saluki Stadium.
The game between the Lions (4-2, 4-2 Southland) and the host Salukis (4-3, 3-3 MVC) will be televised on ESPN+ and can be heard on the Southeastern Sports Radio Network (KSLU 90.9 FM, Kajun 107.1 FM, The Highway 104.7 FM and The Boss 103.7 FM/1400 AM). Fans can also listen live at www.LionSports.net/listenlive and via the Lions Game Day Experience and TuneIn Radio apps.
The game was added to the schedule last Wednesday, as SIU had seen its last two opponents opt out of the season. When Southeastern heard the Salukis were looking to play, the Lions were eager to test their mettle in a road contest versus a nationally-ranked opponent – its fourth this spring. Saturday’s result could prove beneficial for the victors, as the winner will have the inside track on an at-large bid to the NCAA FCS playoffs.
Southeastern moved up six spots in the Stats Perform media poll and four places in the AFCA coaches poll after closing out the Southland Conference slate with a 52-45 River Bell Classic win at then-No. 17/18 Nicholls last Saturday.
SLU intercepted Colonel quarterback Lindsey Scott four times – returning two for scores – and accumulated 499 total yards of offense behind a 391-yard, four-touchdown showing from quarterback Cole Kelley.
Southeastern is averaging 38.2 points and 503.2 yards per game, doing most of its damage through the air. Kelley leads the nation with 2,244 passing yards and ranks among the FCS leaders in passing touchdowns (16, 5th) and completion percentage (66.9, 5th).
CJ Turner (40 catches, 506 yards, 5 TD) is Kelley’s top target, while Javon Conner (30-406), Marcus Cooper (25-257-2 TD) and Austin Mitchell (19-245-1 TD) are the other leading receivers for SLU.
Defensively, Southeastern is yielding 33.3 points and 473.8 yards per outing. Alexis Ramos leads the Southland with 64 tackles with Donniel Ward-Magee (45), Herman Christophe (34) and Justin Douglas (32) among SLU’s leading tacklers.
Ferlando Jordan, Jack Henderson and Alphonso Taylor have two interceptions each for Southeastern. Ward-Magee leads the team with two fumble recoveries, as hea and Christophe have each forced two fumbles.
Austin Dunlap would rank seventh in FCS with a 44.5 punting average if he had enough attempts to rank among the national leaders. Mateo Rengifo has been near perfect on field goals (9-for-10) and PAT’s (26-for-28).
The Salukis will be playing for the first time since March 27. Three different players have seen action at quarterback for a SIU offense that is averaging 22.3 points and 368.4 yards per contest. The tandem of Romeir Elliot (456 yards, 3 TD) and Javon Williams Jr. (362-5 TD) highlight the Saluki ground attack.
Opponents are averaging 26.7 points and 355.7 yards per contest versus Southern Illinois. Bryson Strong leads SIU with 49 tackles.
Saturday will be the first-ever meeting between the Lions and Salukis. SLU last played a game in the state of Illinois on Sept. 27, 1980, defeating Illinois State, 28-21.
The 2020-21 NCAA FCS Playoff Selection Show will be televised on ESPNU on Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
INSIDE SOUTHEASTERN FOOTBALL WITH FRANK SCELFO
Inside Southeastern Football With Frank Scelfo, presented by Louisiana’s First Choice Auto Auction, will air every Monday through the end of the season at 7 p.m. on the patio at Pour House Pizza and Beer Garden (505 West Thomas Street) in downtown Hammond. Hosted by Scelfo, the reigning Southland Conference Coach of the Year, and Allen Waddell, the hour-long show will air on the Southeastern Sports Radio Network (KSLU-FM (90.9), Kajun 107.1 FM, The Highway 104.7 FM and The Boss 103.7 FM/1400 AM WFPR). Fans can also listen live at www.LionSports.net/listenlive and via the Lions Game Day and TuneIn Radio apps.
For more information on Southeastern Football, follow @LionUpFootball and @Coach_Scelfo on Twitter, like /SLUathletics on Facebook and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel.
TOUCHDOWN CLUB/S CLUB
Fans interested in becoming active supporters of the football program are encouraged to join the Touchdown Club. Lion football alums are encouraged to join the exclusive S Club, which is restricted to Southeastern athletic letter winners.
All membership fees and donations to both the Touchdown Club and S Club (football) are available for the exclusive use of the Southeastern football program. Membership information is available by contacting the Lion Athletics Association at firstname.lastname@example.org or (985) 549-5091 or visiting www.LionUp.com.
CLEAR BAG POLICY
Southeastern Athletics instituted a clear bag policy for all ticketed events, effective with the start of the 2018 football season. For more information on the clear bag policy, visit www.LionSports.net/clear.