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SOU seeks to break three-game loss streak

ASHLAND — Southern Oregon University will attempt to end a three-game football losing streak Saturday when it hosts Montana State-Northern at noon at Raider Stadium.

Southern Oregon (4-5 overall, 4-4 Frontier Conference) faces a Lights team that is 1-7 in league and overall and has dropped 17 of 18 games over the last two seasons.

Series history

— The Raiders are 9-0 all-time against the Lights in a series which dates back to Oct. 28, 2000, and includes four Frontier matchups. SOU has shut out the Lights twice, and its 61-0 victory on Oct. 11, 2003 in Ashland was the team's most recent shutout against anyone.

— Last year's 82-9 win against the Lights in Ashland established a Raider record for points in a game. After throwing zero touchdowns through the first three games of the season, the Raiders had seven in that one to five different receivers and led 41-0 less than two minutes into the second quarter.

— MSU-Northern's Zack McKinley, one of 17 players in the NAIA currently averaging more than 100 rushing yards per game, is averaging 105 yards on the ground in three career games against the Raiders.

No more Top 25

The Raiders were No. 8 in the NAIA Top 25 coaches' poll after four consecutive wins going into their Oct. 15 game against Eastern Oregon. The three-game losing streak that started then, though, has knocked them out of the Top 25 for the first time in 35 polls, a run that began in the spring of 2014, ending the longest such streak in team history.

Previously, the Raiders appeared in 24 straight polls from the 2001 preseason to the middle of 2003.

Home history

SOU is 92-57 all-time at Raider Stadium, 24-4 at home under Craig Howard and 18-4 at home in Frontier contests.

Against unranked opponents at home under Howard, SOU is 12-1. Six of the last nine conference games at Raider Stadium have been decided by four points or less.

Retzlaff rolling

Senior receiver Matt Retzlaff, from Medford, has continued his blistering receiving pace. In three games since returning from an injury that kept him out two weeks, he's totaled 31 receptions for 501 yards and five touchdowns, giving him five 100-plus-yard games, 901 total yards and 11 TDs this season.

He needs 99 more yards to become the eighth Raider to total 1,000 in a single season but already owns SOU's career records for total receptions (231), receiving yards (3,304) and receiving touchdowns (38).

On this year's NAIA leaderboard, he ranks first in receptions per game (9.3), third in receiving yards per game (128.7) and 14th in scoring per game (9.7 points).

Bronsen Ader, SOU's second-leading receiver, has also totaled 388 receiving yards over SOU's last five games after accumulating 18 over the first three.

Singler smarts

Quarterback Jack Singler, from Medford, was named to the Capital One Academic All-District 4 team on Thursday by the College Sports Information Directors of America. The award is designed to recognize student-athletes for their combined performances on the classroom and in the field; to be eligible, one must have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.3 or better and be a key starter or reserve.

Singler, a business major, was one of 20 players and the only quarterback selected to the District 4 team. Since stepping in as the starter following Tanner Trosin's second-week injury, he's completed 60 percent of his passes for 16 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and 2,374 yards — already the seventh most in SOU single-season history. His 339 passing yards per game as a starter currently rank first in the Frontier and fourth in the NAIA.

About MSU-Northern

— Caleb McLaren was inserted as the Lights' starting quarterback last week in an effort to spark an offense that has averaged just 173 passing yards per game. In a 49-14 loss at Carroll, he completed 10 of 23 passes for 115 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

— McKinley has rushed for 100-plus yards in three straight weeks. He's totaled 822 on an average of 4.4 per carry with seven of the Lights' eight rushing touchdowns.