Southern Illinois got big first-quarter plays from Emmanuel Souarin and Mulku Kalokoh to beat Missouri State 14-6 Saturday in a defensive game that featured 20 punts for 738 yards.
In the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both teams, the Salukis (2-2) prevailed despite going 0 for 13 on third-down conversions and managing just 198 yards of offense.
Souarin returned an interception 44 yards for a score in the opening quarter. On Southern Illinois' next possession, Kalokoh broke off a 36-yard run that set up his 12-yard touchdown reception from Kory Faulkner.
The Bears (0-4) managed 362 yards of offense but got only two Austin Witmer field goals in the first half to show for it.
Ryan Heaston rushed for 126 yards for Missouri State, which was hampered by nine penalties for 100 yards. Ashton Glaser completed 20 of 35 passes for 180 yards and two interceptions.