With a week off to try and put some distance between them and a disappointing loss at Weber State, the University of South Dakota football team prepares to kickoff the grind that is the Missouri Valley Conference schedule, when they play Saturday (September 29) at Southern Illinois.

The Salukis (1-2) have been scoring and giving up a lot of points so far in 2018. The SIU offense has topped 40 or more in every game this season, and even led Ole Miss at halftime. But the defense has allowed nearly 45 points a game.

Quarterback Sam Straub is throwing for better than 275 yards a game. He has tossed seven touchdown passes, but been picked off six times in three games.

D.J. Davis has been the workhorse of the running game with better than 20 carries a game for an average of 140 yards.

Defensively, Southern Illinois has a pair of disruptive players in linebacker Bryce Notree (2 sacks, interception) and defensive end Anthony Knighton (2.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss).

The Coyotes (1-2) beat the Salukis 42-0 last year in a game that saw the Coyote defense force five turnovers and quarterback Austin Simmons complete 11-of-18 passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns in relief of Chris Streveler, who was injured on the first series of the game.

Straub started that game for SIU but left after the first quarter with an injury.

Kickoff is 6:00 PM, Saturday in Carbondale, Illinois.

I talked with Coyotes head coach Bob Nielson about the bye week and the match-up with Southern Illinois:

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