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J. Thomas McNamara

    Beau Branyan has been on both sides of the emotions, the disappointment of not being selected as one of the at-large teams for the playoffs and then the “amazing” feelings of being picked.
    Within a span of three years going from the low of not being picked to the high of being picked.
    That’s how Branyan described his emotions Sunday morning when he and his teammates were together when they heard they had been selected as one of five Missouri Valley teams to make the 16-team NCAA division playoffs that started Saturday for the SIU Salukis.
    In 2019 when he was a freshman and the starting right tackle on the Salukis football team, Branyan felt the disappointment when SIU was not picked as one of the at-large when he felt they were deserving.
    There was no football in 2020 because of COVID-19.
    With that as background, one feels Branyan’s pride coming through the phone lines where he is describing what it was like to be in that room with his teammates and hear your name called.
    SIU is one of five Missouri Valley to be picked for the 16-team field which as he says anyone is capable of beating the others which he expects the Salukis starting with Weber State Saturday.
    Branyan didn’t mince words, firmly stating that he believes the football Missouri Valley now is tougher than the Mid-American Conference.
    “North Dakota State will have three players drafted,” reminded Branyan about one of the teams in the field and a squad Branyan and the Salukis beat earlier this year that sent shock waves through the football nation.
    Now, the starting left tackle Branyan is ready to play Weber State and anyone else they put in front of them.
    Summarizing his excitement about making and playing in the playoffs, Branyan said, “This is why you put all that extra time in in the weight room, in the practice sessions, watching film.”
    Branyan prepped at St. Teresa and nothing has come easy for him as an injury caused him to miss his high school sophomore year.
    Now, he’s enjoying being a part of SIU’s first playoff appearance since 2009.

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