CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Nic Baker threw two touchdown passes and Javon Williams Jr., rushed for two in a Southern Illinois comeback that saw the Salukis score five unanswered touchdowns and defeat Illinois State 35-17 in a Missouri Valley Conference opener on Saturday.
Jackson Waring's 1-yard touchdown run had given Illinois State (2-2, 0-1) a 17-0 lead early in the third quarter, but the game flipped from there as Southern Illinois (3-1, 1-0) forced two punts, a fumble and took over on downs three times on the Redbirds final six possessions.
The Salukis, ranked No. 8 in the FCS coaches poll, compiled 371 yards of offense and converted eight of 15 tries on third down in their rally.
Baker was 21 of 32 passing for 227 yards with a pair of touchdowns. He was also intercepted twice. Landon Lenoir rushed for 86 yards and a TD while Izaiah Hartrup gained 82 for Southern Illinois.
Waring, a freshman, passed for 166 yards for Illinois State with Austin Nagel making four catches for 100 yards.
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