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Raiders going for .500 mark

With a playoff berth virtually out of the question, the — Southern Oregon University football team will work toward finishing above — .500 Saturday against Montana State-Northern.

Kickoff at Blue Pony Stadium in Havre, Mont., is scheduled — for noon local time.

The Raiders fell to 2-3 after a 51-10 loss at San Diego — last Saturday, but have an excellent shot at getting back to .500 this — weekend, despite the 24-hour one-way bus trip.

SOU has dominated its series against the Lights (0-4), — winning all four games handily, including the past three by an average — score of 50-2. Last year, SOU entered the game a week removed from a devastating — loss to San Diego. Southern took out its frustration on the Lights, winning — 61-0 to kick off a solid 5-1 finish to what had been a downer of a season.

In other words, there's nothing like a game against Montana — State-Northern to give the Raiders a confidence boost.

Still, that's not enough to make Raider head coach Jeff — Olson comfortable.

"The way our season has gone, I don't think we can rely — on the past whatsoever," he said "It's time to start from scratch and — work our way back up. So as far as I'm concerned, every game on our schedule — is the most important game of the season."

Last week's loss represented the first blemish on what — had been a spectacular run for the Raider defense. SOU is holding opponents — to 303 yards per game - 152 on the ground and 151 through the air.

While they've been stingy, giving up mainly short gains, — the SOU secondary has not provided much in the way of game-breaking plays. — Opposing quarterbacks are completing just 54 percent of their passes (76-for-141), — but have thrown only one interception and six touchdown passes.

That's an unfavorable line from SOU's perspective when — compared to the numbers Raider quarterbacks are putting up: 83-for-161 — (52 percent), five touchdowns, 11 interceptions.

Olson said Brandon Griffith will get the start at quarterback — against the Lights, but added that Boomer Marshall will see plenty of — playing time as well.

Olson is looking for some serious improvement at the quarterback — spot. Last week, the foursome combined to complete just 15 of 33 passes — with three interceptions.

Of course, it didn't help that they were pressured all — day.

"It was just a total team meltdown," Olson said.

Testing SOU's defense this week will be MSU-N sophomore — quarterback Kyle Samson. Sampson ranks second in the Frontier Conference — for total offense (181.5 yards-per-game), including a 62 yards-per-game — rushing average. His running ability should test SOU's linebacker corps, — which is spearheaded by leading tackler David Zauher.

The Lights are in the midst of another frustrating season — in the always-tough Frontier, which includes two-time defending NAIA national — champion Carroll College. The Lights' average margin of defeat is 36 points — and they've only managed to score five touchdowns.

Their defense has been the major culprit. MSU-N is giving — up 433 yards per contest.