DILLON, Mont. — With quarterback Tanner Trosin operating at his best, 14th-ranked Southern Oregon University is officially humming after a few weeks spent working out the kinks on the road.
Trosin's surgical, 404-yard passing display was the driving force in Saturday's 52-28 crashing of Montana Western's homecoming party, which made the Raiders 3-0 for the first time since 2014 and the eighth time in team history ahead of next Saturday's home debut against Carroll (Montana).
While completing 36 of 48 pass attempts — including 29 of 39 for 290 yards in the first half — Trosin connected with 10 different receivers, though 6-foot-6 wideout Jordan Suell was his favorite target with seven receptions for 117 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Trosin also found Jason Shelley for a 24-yard TD, which gave SOU its largest lead at 38-7 a few minutes into the third quarter, and he rushed in a 15-yard score.
The Bulldogs (1-3 overall, 1-2 Frontier), who started the year ranked 19th in the NAIA, hadn't allowed so many points in a conference game since SOU's 76-29 win in Dillon on Oct. 20, 2012. The Raiders hogged the ball with 85 plays from scrimmage to UMW's 54, pestering the Bulldogs with short routes early that eventually opened up the field and led to a 526-293 advantage in total yardage.
The Raiders didn't have to trot out punter Louis DesPrez until the third quarter and didn't turn the ball over until a fumble inside the game's final minute.
SOU's defense had two fourth-quarter takeaways in the form of Isiah Carter and Keegan Lawrence interceptions, bringing the Raiders' turnover edge to 8-2 this season.
Trosin was interception-free for a fifth straight Frontier outing. It was his second career 400-yard passing game, though he's averaged 374 in five starts over the last two seasons.
Marcus Montano's 31-yard field goal was the result of an 11-play opening drive, but SOU trailed for the first time this season when UMW quarterback Bennett Gibson immediately answered with a touchdown pass to Walter McKitrick.
The deficit didn't last long; SOU found the end zone on its next four drives going into halftime, starting with Trosin's 5-yard slant pass to Suell and Louis Macklin's 36-yard, untouched burst up the middle.
UMW, meanwhile, exited with three straight three-and-outs, and TD rushes by Austin May (1 yard) and Trosin (15 yards) capped drives spanning 80 and 74 yards to put the Raiders up 31-7 at the break.
Shelley's touchdown catch in the third preceded consecutive Bulldog scores — a 19-yard pass from Bennett to George Sherwood and Hunter Thomsen's six-yard carry — that trimmed the lead to 38-21 near the end of the third. But Trosin shut down any hopes of a comeback.
Facing third-and-11 at SOU's 34, he placed a 45-yard pass perfectly over Matt Boudreaux's shoulder and into his hands. Two plays later, he sent a 20-yard pass high enough that only Suell could reach it for another TD.
Boudreaux finished with six catches for 90 yards and Dominic Giampaoli collected six for 77 yards, both career-best totals for the seniors. Macklin netted 48 of SOU's 122 rushing yards on six carries.
For the Raider defense, safety Oshay Dunmore and linebacker Devvon Gage led the way with nine tackles apiece. Tre Holmes and Noah Johnson each recorded a sack, while the Bulldogs didn't have any.