BUTTE, Mont. — Before turning the lights out on the 2013 season, the Southern Oregon University football team managed to put everything together one last time.
The Raiders' 31-10 win Saturday afternoon at Montana Tech's Bob Green Field was the product of an offense that got back to taking care of the ball and a defense that allowed the Orediggers to score fewer points than any of SOU's last 19 opponents.
Melvin Mason netted 162 yards on 17 rushes, a 60-yard touchdown dash being one of them, to help ensure SOU's second-place finish in the Frontier Conference. By completing the season sweep of Montana Tech, the Raiders ended the year with a 7-4 overall record and a 7-3 conference mark.
The Raiders had been plagued by 10 turnovers in their last two games, both losses, but their 481 yards of offense came without a giveaway. For the first time in more than three years, they amassed more rushing yards (264) than passing (217).
Austin Dodge still squeezed in two touchdown passes — one to Mason, who added 56 receiving yards, and the other to Sean Tow, another running back — to bring his single-season SOU record to 47. He completed 28 of 44 attempts, seven of which found Matt Retzlaff for 81 yards.
Tow also ran in a TD and had 56 rushing yards, helping the Raiders average six yards on 44 carries.
The Orediggers (4-6, 4-6) didn't generate much of anything, gaining 3.8 yards per rush and 4.8 per pass.
Pat Hansen scored their only touchdown with a two-yard run that knotted the score, 7-7, at the beginning of the second quarter.
Dodge and the Raiders responded immediately, orchestrating an eight-play, 65-yard drive that ended with a five-yard pass to Mason in the end zone. Aldrick Rosas nailed a 41-yard field goal to put SOU up by 10 at halftime.
In addition to his field goal, Rosas converted all four of his extra-point attempts to polish off a perfect 57-for-57 season. He was 9-for-11 on field goals.
Two plays after the Orediggers initiated the third-quarter scoring with a field goal, Mason's 60-yard run put the Raiders up by multiple possessions for good.
Mason averaged 116.5 yards on the ground over SOU's final four games.
Linebacker Laurence Calcagno had nine solo tackles and assisted three, putting him in double digits for his fifth straight outing.
This was the 10th time in program history that SOU has won seven or more games.
Southern Oregon 31,Montana Tech 10
At Bob Green Field
Southern Oregon 7 10 7 7 —31
Montana Tech 0 7 3 0 —10
SOU — Tow 12 pass from Dodge (Rosas kick)
MT — Hansen 2 run (Berg kick)
SOU — Mason 5 pass from Dodge (Rosas kick)
SOU — FG Rosas 31
MT — FG Berg 20
SOU — Mason 60 run (Rosas kick)
SOU — Tow 5 run (Rosas kick)
First Downs 28 20
Rushes-Yards 44-264 36-138
Passing Yards 217 213
Comp-Att-Int 28-44-0 21-44-0
Total Yards 481 351
Punts 7-38.8 9-39.5
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 9-68 5-40
Southern Oregon — Mason 17-162, Tow 12-56, Dodge 7-23, Kammel 1-11, Marshall 5-10, Scottow 1-2, Team 1-0.
Montana Tech — Hansen 20-59, Schwarzkoph 10-51, Cavender 3-17, Tapley 2-7, Rowe 1-4.
Southern Oregon — Dodge 28-44-0 217.
Montana Tech — Schwarzkoph 13-29-0 144, Tapley 8-15-0 69.
Southern Oregon — M. Retzlaff 7-81, Mason 9-56, R. Retzlaff 3-44, Birks 1-11, Young 2-8, Tow 3-8, Scottow 1-7, McShane 1-5, Marshall 1-(-3).
Montana Tech — Bray 3-42, Moss 3-42, Hall 3-34, Roberts 1-32, Kinney 5-30, Cavender 4-21, Hansen 2-12.
SOUTHERN OREGON 77, CAL STATE SAN MARCOS 60 — At Lewiston, Idaho, Southern Oregon had to put in a little extra work to overcome 34-percent shooting.
The Raiders earned a pass with 25 offensive rebounds and caught fire just in time to beat the Cougars and come away from the Lewis-Clark State Tournament with a split. Tied at 54-all with 7 minutes, 45 seconds remaining, SOU went on an 18-0 run.
Carly Meister pulled down a career-high 15 boards, including seven on the offensive end, to go with her 16 points. Kristen Schoenherr took game-high honors for the second straight night with 20 points on 9-for-16 shooting and Ashley Claussen contributed 14 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
SOU (5-1 overall) lured the Cougars (2-2) into 31-percent shooting (20-for-65). While the Raiders missed 12 of 13 3-pointers in the second half, they were holding the Cougars to a 23-percent clip from the field.
Claussen provided the daggers, drilling a 3-pointer with 4:32 left to put the Raiders up 12 and hitting another jumper to cap the run under the 3-minute mark.
Autumn Durand chipped in 145 points and four rebounds and Tiani Bradford and Allison Gida combined for seven steals off the bench.
Cassie Damyanovich led San Marcos with 13 points and three triples off the bench, but needed 16 shots to get them. Not a single Cougar made at least half of their attempts.
SOU also had 20 fast-break points to the Cougars' two.
SOU OPEN — At Ashland, 23 Southern Oregon University wrestlers made it out of pool play and advanced to today's championship rounds.
Wrestling will get underway at 9 a.m. today. The finals are scheduled to begin around 11 a.m.
The Raiders, ranked No. 8 in the NAIA, had 11 individuals who won their respective four-person pools: Jacob Stigall (125 pounds), Francis Llorente (133), Tanner Canaday (141), Johnathon Gay (141), Chance Lindquist (141), Tyler Cowger (149), Lucas Randall (157), Brock Crocker, Dalton Urrutia (165), Brock Gutches (174) and Tucker Van Matre (184).
Twelve more Raiders advanced by placing second in their pools: Thomas Gowing (125), Craig Trask (157), James Bowers (149), Travis Patrick (157), Garrett Urrutia (165), Cody Jones (165), Kyle Riggs (165), Chris Moreno (174), Chris Berg (197), Clayton Burtis (285), Chance Crane (285) and Zach Gill (285).
Ten schools were represented at the Open. Last year, the Raiders had three individual champions.