VERMILLION, S.D. – Southern Illinois stymied South Dakota’s offense and put just enough points on the board to earn a 22-10 win Saturday inside the DakotaDome in a first-round, NCAA playoff game.

Southern Illinois, 8-4, advances to face No. 2 North Dakota State (10-1) next Saturday in Fargo, North Dakota. Those two teams, despite competing in the Valley, did not face each other during the regular season. South Dakota, hosting its first NCAA playoff game in 35 years, saw its season end with a 7-5 mark.

Avante Cox caught 10 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown to lead the Salukis. The play of the game was the 48-yard bomb he caught on the second play of an SIU series that began with 8:50 remaining after the Coyotes had cut the lead to 16-10. Romeir Elliott ran in from 5 yards out four plays later for the final score of the game.

Two of South Dakota’s four turnovers – Southern Illinois didn’t commit any – came after Elliott’s final score, but miscues throughout the game were costly to South Dakota.

The first came on the fourth play from scrimmage when Qua Brown made the first of his two interceptions on a Carson Camp overthrow in Saluki territory. Southern Illinois marched 30 yards the other way and capitalized with a 50-yard Nico Gualdoni field goal on its first possession.

The most costly error came early in the second quarter. The Coyote defense, on the field for much of the first half, stopped a 3rd-and-8 play from the USD 24. But South Dakota roughed the holder on the ensuing field goal attempt. SIU took its three points and turned them into seven two plays later when a blown coverage left Cox all by himself in the end zone for a 4-yard score and a 10-0 lead.

Despite its struggles offensively, South Dakota trailed just 13-0 at the half. But the plays and time of possession were lopsided. After Southern Illinois’ first possession of the second half, it had run 58 plays for 253 yards. South Dakota had run 19 plays for 66 yards.

The Coyotes took their opening possession of the second half down to the Saluki 4-yard line. But Camp threw incomplete to Nate Thomas on 3rd-and-2 and South Dakota settled for a chip shot field goal to get on the board at 13-3.

It was a 13-play, 87-yard drive capped by a 2-yard Travis Theis run that made it 16-10 in the fourth. South Dakota had to go the length of the field throughout the game to SIU’s credit. The Coyotes’ average start was their own 21.

Camp entered as the ninth-most efficient passer in the nation. He threw just four interceptions during the regular season, but the Salukis got him three times Saturday and he lost a fumble late after a 29-yard scramble down the field. He passed for 202 yards and completed 19-of-31 attempts. Caleb Vander Esch caught three passes for 51 yards.

Romeir ran 17 times for a game-high 68 yards and Southern Illinois outrushed South Dakota 174-111, but with 18 more carries. Nic Baker completed 21-of-30 passes for 210 yards and the one score.

Jack Cochrane, making his 39th consecutive start at linebacker, led South Dakota’s defense with 12 tackles including his second sack of the season. He finishes a fantastic career with 328 stops, sixth-most in program history.