CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Eastern Illinois learned the hard way: You just don't score first against Southern Illinois.
After giving up a touchdown, the Salukis ran off 48 straight points Saturday to whip the Panthers 48-7 in the opening round of the FCS playoffs.
Deji Karim rushed for two touchdowns and redshirt freshman quarterback Paul McIntosh was part of three scores.
"They got the upper hand right off the get-go," Salukis coach Dale Lennon said. "We knew we would have our opportunities, too, and it's just a matter of being ready when those opportunities present themselves.
"We responded, and, I think, once we got the game tied up in the first quarter, there's a little more of that comfort with what we were doing and how we were doing it. Everything else just fell into place."
Karim scored on runs of 10 and 88 yards. McIntosh threw scoring passes of 11 yards to Karim and 6 yards to John Goode and ran 16 yards for a TD. Kyle Russo returned a fumble 28 yards for a touchdown, and Kyle Dougherty kicked two field goals.
A reverse from Eastern Illinois wideout Lorence Ricks set off SIU's reversal of fortune. Ricks took a handoff from quarterback Jake Christensen, and as everyone else pulled right, the sophomore came around left end 11 yards untouched for a score. They were the Panthers' final points of the season.
SIU (11-1) won its third straight playoff game against the Panthers. Eastern Illinois (8-4) was hoping to snap a nine-year losing streak by Ohio Valley Conference teams, but was done in by a season-high six turnovers.
Christensen was picked off before getting pulled in the third quarter, and the Salukis recovered all five of EIU's fumbles.
"You can't give them opportunities, as good as they are, and that's what we did," EIU coach Bob Spoo said.
Karim gave away SIU's first opportunity of the game, but finished with 155 yards rushing. Karim lost the first fumble of his career to set up the Panthers at the Salukis 30. Six plays later, they had their only lead.
Karim became just the second player this season to break the 100-yard rushing mark against EIU. McIntosh became the first, rushing for 103 of his 115 yards in the opening half.
In his first playoff start, McIntosh became one of the chief benefactors of some short fields, completing 13 of 17 for 66 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
"Momentum was on our side whenever the defense kept giving the ball on their side of the 50," McIntosh said.