Southern Illinois' McIntosh gets better of Southeast Missouri State's Scheible in battle of QBs

Sunday, September 4, 2011
Southeast Missouri State's Matt Scheible changes direction to avoid Southern Illinois' Mike McElroy during the third quarter Saturday at Houck Stadium. (Kristin Eberts)

Two of the nation's better dual-threat quarterbacks in the Football Championship Subdivision were on display at Houck Stadium on Saturday night.

Neither SIU junior Paul McIntosh nor Southeast senior Matt Scheible disappointed as both were impressive with their arm and legs.

McIntosh got the upper hand as his Salukis rolled to a 38-10 season-opening victory. He carved up the Redhawks for the second time in three years, including a 42-24 victory in Cape Girardeau two years ago.

McIntosh had a strong 2009 season but saw limited action last season. He began 2011 with a bang, completing 14 of 18 passes for 246 yards while rushing for 65 yards on 11 carries. He directed an attack that piled up 494 yards.

"Paul had something to prove," SIU coach Dale Lennon said. "A lot of people were wondering if he's the guy to do it. We think Paul can be a pretty total weapon."

Southern Illinois quarterback Paul McIntosh carries the ball against Southeast Missouri State defenders Taylor Ramsey, left, and Steve Hendry during the first quarter Saturday. (Fred Lynch)

McIntosh rushed for 101 yards during the 2009 win over Southeast, so the Redhawks knew he was dangerous with his legs, much like Scheible.

"Coming into the week, the coaches told us he was a lot like Scheible. He would tuck the ball and run," Southeast junior linebacker Blake Peiffer said.

While McIntosh had plenty of help in the run game, Scheible was about Southeast's lone threat on the ground.

Scheible, first-team all-Ohio Valley Conference last year, rushed for 91 yards on nine carries. He also completed 14 of 23 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown.

"He's a great quarterback, a great leader," Southeast coach Tony Samuel said. "He ran well, he made some good decisions.

"We just have to get the whole thing going. It's not a one-man show."

Run game throttled

Southeast rushed for just 117 yards, well off last season's average of 265.1 yards per game, which ranked third nationally.

Take away Scheible's 91 yards, and the Redhawks gained only 26 yards on the ground. Their three tailbacks -- redshirt freshman Lennies McFerren, junior Renard Celestin and junior Levi Terrell -- combined for 19 yards on 14 carries.

The Redhawks returned just one starting offensive lineman -- junior tackle Evan Conrad -- and lost their top three running backs, including All-American Henry Harris.

"The line's going to get better," Samuel said. "The NFL gets preseason games. It's the first game with four new starters."

Conrad said he believes the line will come around.

"We had some issues. A lot of new players, to simulate that speed they [SIU] play with ... it's a tough game to open with," Conrad said. "I have no doubt as a group we started coming together tonight, and we'll do nothing but get better."

Lewis at quarterback

True freshman quarterback Trey Lewis, from Sikeston, Mo., saw his first collegiate action. He replaced Scheible midway through the fourth quarter after SIU went ahead 38-10.

Lewis, who won the backup job during preseason practice, threw a nice short ball on his only pass attempt, but it was dropped. He rushed twice but lost 2 yards.

"Matt's a senior. We have to start finding other people," Samuel said.

Statistically speaking

* McFerren was Southeast's top rusher among running backs with 15 yards on six carries.

* Senior Aaron King caught four passes for 34 yards. Sophomore D.J. Foster caught three balls for 29 yards and scored Southeast's only touchdown, which came on a 5-yard pass from Scheible.

* Redshirt freshman Spencer Davis caught two passes for 28 yards. Redshirt freshman fullback Ron Coleman added two receptions for 26 yards.

* Davis averaged 24.3 yards on six kickoff returns, with a long of 39 yards. He also returned a punt for 14 yards.

* Junior Joe Vucic averaged a strong 43.3 yards on six punts.

* Peiffer led Southeast's defense with a career-high 12 tackles. Senior safety Bryan Blanfort added nine tackles.

* True freshman Eddie Kocwa, from Australia, handled Southeast's kickoffs.

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