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Saluki Stadium opens tonight

Carbondale, IL (Sports Network) - The Football Championship Subdivision's newest stadium will debut tonight when Southern Illinois christens $25.3 million Saluki Stadium against NAIA program Quincy University.

Saluki Stadium, which sits 15,000, is the newest FCS stadium built since Campbell opened up Barker-Lane Stadium in 2008. Kickoff is 7 p.m. CT.

"We are all honored and privileged to call this beautiful place home," senior wide receiver Joe Allaria said. "We're grateful to all the players that have gone before us, that have laid the foundation for us to build on. Without them, we wouldn't be here today."

Saluki Stadium replaces McAndrew Stadium, which was 73 years old. The new stadium has a 20-by-40-foot scoreboard with video replay capabilities and a two-story press box with 12 club suites, a 2,500-square-foot VIP Club Room, along with traditional booths for radio, television, coach and the print media. The playing surface is FieldTurf.

SIU, which won the Missouri Valley Football Conference and finished 11-2 last season, was ranked fifth in The Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Preseason Top 25. The Salukis return five players who made The Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Preseason All-America Team: cornerback Korey Lindsey on the first team; junior fullback John Goode and junior tackle David Pickard on the second team; and senior safety Mike McElroy and senior place-kicker Kyle Dougherty on the third team.

"I want that place full every home game that we're playing," SIU head coach Dale Lennon said. "I just think that there's so many things that we've done with the design of that stadium that the fans are going to enjoy the overall game experience and, hopefully, that will translate into sellouts. That's number one. Number two, I want the fans to feel like they have an influence on the outcome of the game. And that's where, hopefully, the noise factor can become a strong element. And then number three, I hope our current players understand and realize the privilege of playing in a new stadium that's been a long time coming. A lot of people have done a lot of work to get us to this point. There's a responsibility there also."

SIU has defeated Quincy in their two prior meetings.

09/02 12:35:58 ET



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