Raiders finish fifth in final NAIA poll

KANSAS CITY — A Frontier Conference championship and NAIA Football Championship Series quarterfinal appearance highlighted a historic 2012 Southern Oregon football season, with final recognition coming Tuesday afternoon when the NAIA ranked SOU fifth in its postseason Top 25 poll.

The Raiders finished the season with a 9-3 record and set numerous program records and established a new NAIA record for total offense, averaging 642 yards per game. Southern Oregon climbed as high as No. 10 in the final regular season rankings before defeating No. 8 St. Ambrose 45-28 in the NAIA FCS first round matchup and falling 47-44 to eventual national runner-up No. 3 Morningside in overtime during the quarterfinals. The Raiders' No. 5 postseason ranking ties for the highest postseason finish in program history, as the 2001 team also finished fifth in the NAIA postseason poll.

Southern Oregon is the highest-ranked three-loss team in the postseason poll, along with the highest-ranked team with fewer than 10 wins. The Raiders will lose only 13 seniors from the 2012 squad, with 5,000-yard passer Austin Dodge leading the corps of returners for a 2013 season when SOU will look to defend its Frontier Conference title.

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