The Redhawks' latest venture to Carbondale, Ill., didn't go nearly as well.
SIU, playing its third season in its impressive, $25-million facility, put on a dominant performance and rolled past the Redhawks 35-14 Saturday night in front of an announced crowd of 9,612.
"Obviously it was disappointing," said Southeast senior safety Brandon Spann, who had his first career interception and fumble recovery. "It's not what we wanted."
Both squads are 1-2. SIU, playing its home opener, has won six of the past seven meetings with Southeast, all by at least 21 points.
The lone exception was that 2010 shocker when the Salukis were playing just their second game in their new stadium. Southeast still leads the all-time series 37-33-8.
"This was a game where we've been waiting for a while to put on display," said SIU coach Dale Lennon, whose squad started the season 0-2 for the first time since 2001.
Southeast gained just 30 first-half yards and finished the night with a paltry 186 yards.
"Just plain and simple, they out-executed us in the first half," junior wide receiver D.J. Foster said.
SIU piled up a whopping 565 yards, 364 of which came during a first half that ended with SIU ahead 21-0.
It could have been much worse at the intermission. SIU missed a field goal, lost a fumble at the Southeast 14-yard line and had a pass intercepted deep in Redhawks' territory. Southeast punted on all six of its first-half possessions while SIU did not punt.
"You have to give them credit," Southeast coach Tony Samuel said. "They've got a good team and they had a very good game plan."
The Redhawks had just one first down in the first half and reached SIU territory only when Spann's interception and 19-yard return set them up at the 48-yard line. But the next three plays netted just two yards.
Southeast's offense picked things up some in the second half and, after a scoreless third quarter, the Redhawks had a chance to make things interesting when they drove 56 yards before scoring a touchdown on the first play of the final period.
Redshirt freshman Lewis Washington's first collegiate carry, a 1-yard plunge, made it 21-7 with 14 minutes, 18 seconds still left to play.
But SIU answered with a 74-yard touchdown march to regain its 21-point lead and scored again with five minutes left to make it 35-7.
"It just didn't click until late in the game. We made some adjustments, but it was too late," Foster said of Southeast's offense.
It was McRobert's first collegiate catch and Jackson's first collegiate touchdown pass.
The score came on the first play after true freshman cornerback David Coley recovered a fumble at the SIU 22.
"We played hard. We're always going to play hard," Spann said. "But we couldn't get the key stops we needed."
SIU set the tone for the night by taking the opening kickoff and being met with little resistance during a 76-yard drive that required only six plays.
Powerful sophomore tailback Mika'il McCall, an Iowa transfer, ran over several Southeast defenders on a 32-yard touchdown romp that made it 7-0 just 2 minutes, 27 seconds into the opening quarter.
Southeast's first possession resulted in lost yardage and a punt was returned 22 yards to the Redhawks' 40.
"We just didn't have a good first quarter," Samuel said.
Things never got any better for Southeast, although Spann's interception on SIU's third possession stemmed the tide momentarily.
But SIU, after being backed up at its 1-yard line by one of several booming punts by junior Joe Vucic, drove 99 yards in 13 plays.
Faulkner's 14-yard touchdown pass to sophomore tight end MyCole Pruitt on the first play of the second quarter made it 21-0 and SIU never looked back.
"It was 21-0 before we got going," Samuel said. "Defensively we were trying to do too much. We settled down, but by that time the momentum had swung."