Raiders open with a rout
ATHERTON, Calif. — Upstaging the Southern Oregon University football team’s offense is never an easy task. Especially on a day when Austin Dodge adds five touchdowns to his résumé.
SOU’s defense did the closest thing to that with a shutout through three quarters in the season-opener Saturday at Menlo, where the 22nd-ranked Raiders throttled the Oaks 51-14 at Connor Field. With that, the stage is set for next Saturday’s 1 p.m. clash at Ashland High against second-ranked Carroll College, last defending Frontier Conference champ and NAIA semifinalist.
Dodge’s work was finished midway through the third quarter when he sprinted 19 yards for his first touchdown run since 2011, which gave SOU a 48-0 advantage. Prior to that, he completed 23 of 37 throws for 321 yards and four touchdowns — three of which went to Dylan Young, who caught seven balls for 110 yards.
Ryan Retzlaff was one of eight different Raider receivers with at least one catch, taking six for 55 yards and a nine-yard TD grab. True freshman Keegan Lawrence rushed 10 times for 61 yards and punched in two of the Raiders’ first-quarter scores.
The Raider defense took care of the rest. At the time of Dodge’s TD run, which signaled an emptying of the benches, the Oaks (0-2) had 99 yards of offense. They finished with 214 yards, 3.3 per play, while SOU totaled 642 — 388 through the air and 254 on the ground, the most in an opener in program history.
Alex Stork registered a team-high eight tackles and one sack and Mylz Black had five tackles and a sack. Heston Altenbach took the game’s lone interception, while Karrington Jones broke up a couple passes.
Only one other opponent in SOU’s previous 16 games had a lower yardage total than Menlo. The Oaks were stuffed on their first 12 possessions.
The Raiders, on the other hand, scored on five of their first six to take a 34-0 lead into halftime.
Dodge started the scoring in the third quarter with a 35-yard strike to Young in the corner of the end zone. Young’s other TD catches went for 31 yards in the first quarter and seven in the second, making for the second three-score game of his career.
Backup QB Kamerun Smith came in to complete 10 of 17 passes for 67 yards. Matt Retzlaff contributed 43 yards on the ground and 32 through the air.
Running back Kenneth Martey led Menlo with 12 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown.