Raiders to take on Crusaders
Last season, the Southern Oregon football team jumped out early shocked NCAA Division III third-ranked Mary Hardin-Baylor in Ashland.
The Raiders will be looking to do the same thing, this time to eighth-ranked Mary Hardin-Baylor and this time in Belton, Texas.
The Raiders (2-5) and Crusaders (5-1) are slated to kick off at 1 p.m. Central on Saturday.
Mary Hardin-Baylor is coming off a 17-14 setback at Mississippi College last week, a loss that snapped a 33-game American Southwest Conference winning streak.
Last year in Ashland, the Raiders jumped out to a 21-7 lead and scored a 40-28 victory and gave the Crusaders their first setback of the year.
"Coach (Pete) Fredenburg has done a terrific job with that program and built it into a contender in a short amount of time," SOU head coach Steve Helminiak said. "They are physical and want to run the ball. Last year, we were able to control the time of possession and field position and took them out of their element. They want to grind it out, get the lead and play in front, and we can't let that happen."
Even with the setback last week, the Crusaders are putting up impressive numbers.
The Crusaders are averaging 38.8 points, 311.2 yards rushing, 140.8 yards passing and 452 yards of total offense per game.
Defensively, they are giving up an average of 11.0 points, 58.3 yards rushing, 178.3 yards passing and 236.7 yards of total offense per game.
Mary Hardin-Baylor has won 17 of its last 18 home games.
Southern Oregon lost last week to NCAA Division II Humboldt State, 34-3.
"Our inconsistent passing game is still hurting us offensively," Helminiak said. "The defense is playing good, but they are spending way too much time on the field."
Raider sophomore running back Brandon Baldwin needs 69 yards to reach 1,000 for the season.
Turnovers continue to plague SOU, which threw three interceptions last week.
On defense, the Raiders have come up with 44 tackles-for-loss as a team. Senior Will Watson leads the way with 8.5 and Sunni Ali has seven. Watson also has 3.5 sacks.