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College Football: No. 17 ranked SEMO routs SIU 44-26 to keep ‘Wheel’

Last Thursday, the Southeast Missouri State football team
opened the 2019 regular season with a 44-26 win over Southern Illinois
Carbondale in the “War for the Wheel” at Houck Stadium.

The Redhawks, who entered the game as the No. 17 ranked team
in the Football Championship Subdvision, did so infront of the 8,312 fans in

SEMO recorded a total of 529 yards on offense to SIU’s 387
with 281 coming on the ground as the Redhawks had three different players with
12 or more carries.

Running backs junior Mark Robinson, sophomore Zion Custis
and redshirt freshman Geno Hess combined for 227 yards and three touchdowns on
41 attempts. Rushing for the other 54 yards was none other than senior
quarterback Daniel Santacaterina, who also scored twice on the ground.

Despite throwing one interception, Santacaterina still
managed to throw for a game-high 248 yards along with an 18-yard touchdown
strike to senior wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson.

Santacaterina managed to not get sacked in the game with
four new starters on the offensive line, while completing 58% of his passes.

Wilkerson finished as the game’s leading receiver with the
contest’s lone touchdown reception along with 146 yards on six grabs. Sophomore
wide receiver Aaron Alston paced Wilkerson with five catches of his own for a
total of 91 yards.

Defensively, the Redhawks allowed all four touchdowns on the
ground as senior running back D.J. Davis carried the ball 22 times for 125
yards and two touchdowns.

SEMO sacked SIU sophomore quarterback Stone Labanowitz twice
and picked him off in the first half as he finished 16-of-26 for 217 yards.
Coming up with interception was junior safety Marcus Lucas, while senior inside
linebacker Zach Hall and senior outside linebacker Devin Alexander brought
Labanowitz down for a sack.

Hall also managed to record a game-high 19 tackles along
with two tackles for a loss. Alexander also recorded two stops behind the line
of scrimmage and tied for the second most team tackles at six with junior safety
Bydarrius Knighten and senior outside linebacker Justin Swift.

SEMO will not be back at Houck Stadium until Sept. 21 to
take on West Virginia State. The Redhawks first road game this Saturday will be
against No. 14 Montana State. The team then comes back to Missouri the
following weekend to face Mizzou on Sept. 14 in Columbia.

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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