#39 Southern Illinois FCS Football 2015 Preview

Southern Illinois Salukis

Overall Rank: #39
#8 Missouri Valley

Southern Illinois Team Page#39 Southern Illinois FCS Football 2015 PreviewBuy Southern Illinois Football Tickets

It seems like every year Southern Illinois is predicted to have a decent season and compete for a playoff spot and every year they fall short. The rest of the MVFC is getting better and the Salukis are still a step behind. Yet, predicting SIU to finish eighth in the ten team conference is not all bad considering the MVFC had five teams win at least one playoff game last season. SIU may not be able to compete with North Dakota State or Illinois State, but if everything goes right, the Salukis can keep their playoff hopes alive well into November.

2014 Record: 6-6, 3-5
2014 Postseason: None
Coach: Dale Lennon (48-34 at Southern Illinois, 150-67 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Bill O’Boyle, Nick Hill
Defensive Coordinator: David Elson

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Cameron Walter, RB, 323 yards
Passing: Mark Iannotti, QB, 2,241 yards
Receiving: Billy Reed, WR, 148 yards
Tackles: Chase Allen, LB, 95
Sacks: Adam Brandt, DE, 4.0
Interceptions: D.J. Cameron, S, 1; Adam Brandt, DE, 1

Other Key Returnees: OL Jake Notario, OL Ethan Wirth, DT Raysean Golden, S Kenny James

Key Losses: RB Malcolm Agnew, FB Mika’il McCall, TE MyCole Pruitt, WR Tay Willis, WR LaSteven McKinney, OL Corey Boemer, LB Tyler Williamson, DE Blake Miller, CB Boo Rodgers

The offense certainly was not great in 2014 and there are a lot of new faces, but at least SIU has some potential. Quarterback Mark Iannotti is back after a solid junior campaign. He threw for 2,241 yards and 22 touchdowns, with just eight interceptions. However, Iannotti may not be the answer. Youngsters like Sam Straub and Matt DeSomer will push Iannotti. DeSomer had a great spring. The addition of graduate transfer Matt McIntosh adds another wrinkle for Coach Dale Lennon. McIntosh has rarely played during his time at Northern Illinois, but he is a talented dual threat signal caller. Having a quarterback who can make plays with his feet would add another dimension to this offense and that is something Iannotti cannot provide. Whoever starts at quarterback will need to find some new targets. Tight end MyCole Pruitt, a fifth round draft pick, caught 81 passes for 861 yards and 13 touchdowns during his final season in Carbondale. Adam Fuehne may never be Pruitt, but he is a good tight end. Billy Reed, with 148 receiving yards, is the top returner. Senior Josh Sullivan and sophomore Connor Iwema will be asked to be more productive and help replace Pruitt. Leading rusher Malcolm Agnew is gone, but Cameron Walter is a promising sophomore and junior college transfer Aaron Stanton is a shifty little back with talent.

Five starters return to an average defense. The front line returns Adam Brandt and Raysean Golden. Brandt, a senior defensive end, tallied 4.0 sacks in 2014 and will be asked to be the main pass rusher in the trenches. Chase Allen is the lone returning starter at linebacker. Players like Blake Mattson and Leonard Garron will need to help get to the quarterback from their outside linebacker positions. D.J. Cameron and Kenny James form a nice duo at safety. Those two can make some big plays, but the pass defense needs to get better and find a couple new cornerbacks. The play of cornerbacks Andrew McCrea Ryan Neal, Kendric Randolph and Jefferson Vea will go a long way in determining how effective this defense is in 2015.

The Bottom Line:
This is not a team that dominates in any facet of the game, but they are pretty solid across the board. Surviving in the Missouri Valley is not easy, but solid across the board is a good start. Last year it was turnovers that killed the Salukis and there is hope that SIU can turn that around. The defense can get enough pressure on the opposition to force turnovers and all of the options at quarterback should reduce the amount of turnovers on offense. The schedule is pretty tough though. Non-conference games against Indiana and Liberty are huge. Sure this team won’t beat the Hoosiers, but playing Liberty is a great opportunity to kick start the season heading into the brutal MVFC action.

Projected Postseason: None

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 143.1 (85th in nation, 9th in conference)
Passing Offense: 236.7 (38, 4)
Total Offense: 379.8 (64, 6)
Scoring Offense: 29.4 (46, 5)
Rushing Defense: 162.4 (50, 6)
Pass Defense: 224.9 (77, 8)
Total Defense: 387.3 (62, 7)
Scoring Defense: 26.4 (58, 8)
Turnover Margin: -0.50 (97, 10)
Sacks: 2.58 (23, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 1.42 (31, 3)

Madness 2015 Recruit Rankings:
#28 Julius Washington
#118 Graham Lawrence
#185 Cody Crider


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