ASHLAND — With back-to-back losses in games the Southern Oregon University football team was in position to win, the Raider players attempt to get back in the win column Saturday when they venture to Salem for a game against Willamette.

ASHLAND — With back-to-back losses in games the Southern Oregon University football team was in position to win, the Raider players attempt to get back in the win column Saturday when they venture to Salem for a game against Willamette.

The Raiders (1-2) and Bearcats (2-0) meet at 3 p.m.

After a heartbreaking 15-14 setback at home to Humboldt State two weeks ago and last week's 27-16 defeat at NCAA Division IAA Sacramento State, the Raider coaching staff has been able to pinpoint some of the problems that turned a 1-0 start into a 1-2 record.

"We had our chances to steal a game against a Division I team," SOU coach Steve Helminiak said. "But we keep making some of the same mistakes. We need to improve our concentration level and clean up our responsibilities."

The Raiders spent this week making sure everything is in place and everyone is on the same page.

"We've emphasized discipline this week," Helminiak said. "If you can't get it done or are making mistakes, we are going to get you out of there."

SOU will be tested this week as they play Willamette, one of the few teams that still runs the "fly" offense.

"They do things offensively that we won't see again this year," Helminiak said. "We've got to go out and play assignment football, defensively."

As a team the Bearcats are averaging 300 yards per game, and senior flanker Merben Woo leads WU in rushing with 171 yards.

"He's a solid runner and fits well in that system," Helminiak said. "They are big up front, and that really helps the running game."

The Bearcats have opened up the season with a 35-21 victory over Concordia-Moorhead and a 31-17 win over California Lutheran. In those two wins, the Bearcat defense is giving up an average of 331 yards per game.

As for the Raiders defensively, Helminiak has been impressed with the four players up front.

Anthony Scolamieri, Will Watson, Ben Baker and Dan Harvey have kept opposing running backs running for their lives.

"Our guys have been playing extremely hard defensively," Helminiak said. "Overall, the guys are rallying to the football. We still need to work some on our tackling, but overall they are doing a great job. And that starts with the four guys up front."

Scolamieri ranks second on the team in tackles with 21 and leads the team in tackles-for-loss with five. Watson has 15 tackles on the season, Baker has three tackles-for-loss and Harvey has four tackles and one fumble recovery.

As a unit, the Raiders are only allowing 177 yards per game through the air.

By comparison, SOU senior quarterback Bryan Lee-Lauduski is averaging 271 yards per game.

With those numbers, Lee-Lauduski ranks seventh in the NAIA in passing yards.