Daniel Santacaterina threw for 248 yards and a touchdown, and ran for two other scores to lead #17 Southeast Missouri (1-0) to a 44-26 season-opening win over longtime rival Southern Illinois (0-1) Thursday night in front of a raucous crowd of 8,312 at Houck Field. SEMO started slow and trailed 14-7 before scoring 30-straight points on its way to burying the Salukis for the second-straight season. The Redhawks and Salukis met for the 87th time in the longest rivalry for both schools.
Down seven with 5:44 remaining in the second quarter, Zion Custis ignited SEMO’s scoring surge with a 4-yard touchdown run that ended a four-play, 65-yard drive. Santacaterina completed an 18-yard pass to Aaron Alston and followed that up with a 34-yard completion to Kristian Wilkerson to set up Custis’ touchdown. SEMO managed to get in the end zone once more just before the half when Mark Robinson scored on a 1-yard plunge with 37 seconds left to put the Redhawks up, 20-14, at the intermission. After scoring 20 second-quarter points, SEMO tacked on 17 more in the third.
The Redhawks also won their eighth-straight home game and beat the Salukis in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2001 (24-5) and 2002 (21-14). The Redhawks travel to #14 Montana State on Sept. 7.