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SOU turns the lights out on Montana St.

SOU turns the lights out on Montana St.-Northern

HAVRE, Mont. — Southern Oregon couldn't have picked a better time to play perhaps its best football game of the season.

The Raiders got big plays on offense and special teams and blended them with an opportunistic defense and an error-free offense for a 49-21 victory over Montana State-Northern University.

Dusty McGrorty — who last week had a 97-yard touchdown run — rambled 85 yards on the Raiders? first play from scrimmage.

Later, after MSNU had scored to pull within 35-21, Nick Daniken, a former Crater High standout, took the ensuing kickoff 87 yards to paydirt.

We've had them the last two weeks, coach Jeff Olson said of the big plays. It certainly helps when you can score in a hurry and get a big momentum swing back in your direction.

It was particularly important in the case of Daniken, who entered the game ranked sixth in the nation in kickoff return average.

The momentum had gone to their side, and within 15 seconds it was back to us, Olson said.

Shawn Wilson capped the scoring with a 5-yard TD run late in the fourth quarter.

The dominating win was another step toward garnering a postseason bid for the first time in 14 years. The 17th-ranked Raiders must finish in the top 16 of the NAIA rankings to end their playoff drought.

SOU (4-3) plays its final two regular-season games at Raider Stadium, where it is 6-1 since 1998.

This is reminiscent of last year when we were scoring on some big plays and things were starting to come together, said Olson.

Dan Walters completed 13 of 20 passes for 171 yards and three touchdowns, including two to Leo Stoddard in the second quarter. More importantly, Walters did not fall into the trap of his MSNU counterpart Brandon Kerkes, who was intercepted six times by SOU.

The Raiders won't have much time to celebrate Saturday's win, however, as defending national champion Pacific Lutheran comes to town this week in SOU's Homecoming game.

We get them here so let's have some fun, said Olson We've won two in a row, we've been scoring some points and getting some big plays and now have the defending national champion in town. We need to have our best game of the season.

PLU is ranked ninth in Division III and leads the nation in total offense.

The Raiders close out the regular season Nov. 11 against Eastern Oregon at Raider Stadium.

— S. Oregon 49, Mont. St.-Northern 21

Southern Oregon ...............14 21 7 7 ?49 Montana St.-Northern............ 7 7 7 0 ?21

SOU — McGrorty 85 run (Manning kick)

MSNU — A. Smith 6 pass from Kerkes (T. Smith kick)

SOU — McGrorty 9 run (Manning kick)

SOU — Stoddard 11 pass from Walters (Manning kick)

MSNU — A. Smith 49 pass from Kerkes (T. Smith kick)

SOU — Stoddard 10 pass from Walters (Manning kick)

SOU — Daniels 6 pass from Walters (Manning kick)

MSNU — Kerkes — run (T. Smith kick)

SOU — Daniken 87 kickoff return (Manning kick)

SOU — S. Wilson 5 run (Manning kick)

— TEAM STATISTICS

SOU MSNU

First Downs 19 18

Rushes-yards 31-161 26-58

Passing yards 192 259

Comp-Att-Int 17-26-0 21-49-6

Total yards 353 317

Punts 8-35.5 7-42.6

Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0

Penalties-yards 11-55 7-46

— INdivIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING

Southern Oregon- McGrorty 18-164, Wilson 7-26, Munoz 1-3, Rule 1-3, Maxam 1-0, Jordan 1-(-11), Walters 4(-24).

— Montana State-Northern

? Kerkes 12-29, Jarvis 8-25, Woodward 1-16, Artis 1-3, Ramsey 1-(-1), Hass 3-(-14).

— PASSING

Southern Oregon- Walters 13-20-0 171, Jordan 4-5-0 21.

— Montana State-Northern

? Kerkes 21-49-6 259.

— RECEIVING

Southern Oregon- Stoddard 5-58, Munoz 2-56, Clinton 2-20, Johnson 1-19, Negra 2-12, Daniels 2-11, VanderKley 1-7, McGrorty 1-5, DeLeon 1-4.

— Montana State-Northern

? A. Smith 9-174, Woodward 2-39, Burt 3-17, Artis 2-14, Ramsey 4-8, Jackson 1-7.