Indians try to regroup, look for ground attack

Monday, September 8, 2003

Southeast Missouri State University football players insist that now is no time to panic despite an 0-2 start.

A Houck Stadium-record crowd of 11,100 was charged up for the start of Saturday night's home opener, but by the end of Southern Illinois' 28-7 romp a good portion of the fans had long headed for the exits. Several hundred Salukis supporters made all the noise.

"We just have to keep positive," linebacker O.J. Turner said. "We'll be back at practice hitting it hard."

Defensive end Adam Jones agreed.

"We just have to get back to the drawing board and see what we need to do," he said. "It's just two games, and we can't panic. We just have to fix certain things."

Southeast coach Tim Billings said the main thing to fix is Southeast's offense -- particularly the running game.

After having a nice running game complement a record-setting passing attack last year -- tailback Corey Kinsey gained more than 1,000 yards -- the Indians' ground attack has been virtually stymied so far, netting 67 yards during a season-opening 17-3 loss at Division I-A Ohio and 59 yards Saturday.

"We just can't run the ball right now, and that's the big key," Billings said. "People talk about Willie Ponder and all the yards we passed for last year, but we had a good running game, and that kind of opened things up. We need to be able to run the football, but right now we can't run the football."Scaife makes an impact

On a team loaded with quite a few experienced offensive weapons from last season, it may be surprising that a true freshman has the Indians' only touchdown so far.

Antonio Scaife, a wide receiver listed as 5-feet-11 and 165 pounds -- although he appears considerably shorter -- caught a 5-yard pass from Jeromy McDowell on the game's final play Saturday as Southeast barely avoided a shutout.

Billings raved about Scaife's quickness and elusiveness throughout the preseason, and he flashed that Saturday, particularly on returns. His 45-yard punt return set up his touchdown, and he also ran back two kickoffs for 43 yards.

Scaife, from Vashon High School in St. Louis, caught two passes during Southeast's 17-3 season-opening loss at Ohio, but the receptions went for negative three yards. His only catch Saturday was the late touchdown.

"I'm glad to be playing as a freshman," Scaife said. "I just want to help the team wherever I can. I hope to contribute more and get more chances."Noteworthy

***Brandon Amick, a walkon wide receiver from Scott City High School, caught two passes for 24 yards Saturday, giving him three receptions for the season and matching his total from all of last year. He's playing a much bigger role in Southeast's offense this year.

***Tight end Ray Goodson from Jackson High School has seven receptions on the season after catching four passes Saturday. He caught 17 passes all of last year.

***Transfer Anthony Gilliam caught his first passes of the season Saturday and had four receptions for 46 yards.

***With five receptions for a team-high 79 yards Saturday, sophomore wide receiver Jamel Oliver has seven catches for the season after having six all of last year.

***Turner, a Central High School product, led the Indians in tackles for the second straight game as he had 11, including an interception. He was Southeast's Copi-Rite Player of the Game.

End Ryan Roth was credited with nine tackles, followed by safety Anthony Lumpkin with eight and cornerback Marco Tipton with seven.

***The Indians are virtually assured of dropping out of the national rankings today. They were rated 22nd by The Sports Network last week.

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