SOU looks to stay hot vs. Yotes
ASHLAND — The deeper Southern Oregon University gets into its Frontier Conference schedule, the harder straightforward wins are to come by. Playing the second half of another home-and-home series this week, the Raiders would take their seventh straight victory however they can get it.
SOU (6-0, 6-0 Frontier) returns to Raider Stadium on Saturday for a 1 p.m. Homecoming matchup against The College of Idaho Yotes (3-4, 3-3), who are fresh off one of their best performances since football returned to the school in 2014 and looking to extend a win streak to three games for the first time since 1974. If the Raiders can stop it, they'll be 7-0 for the first time since 1947.
- SOU leads the all-time series against the Yotes, 9-3, and has gone 6-1 in Frontier contests.
- In the first matchup this season, on Sept. 9 in Caldwell, the Raiders secured a 41-25 win thanks to a 4-0 turnover disparity. The game featured Tanner Trosin's lowest completion percentage of the season (14-of-30) but he still totaled 366 passing yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. SOU's early 20-0 lead was cut to six points by halftime, then built up again thanks to fumble recoveries by Isiah Carter and Tre Holmes and interceptions by Tyson Cooper and Oshay Dunmore.
- SOU is 5-1 against the Yotes in Ashland.
- Last year, after the Raiders survived a 31-27 home win against the Yotes, they fell 44-41 in overtime at C of I as current Yotes quarterbacks Darius-James Peterson rushed for 228 yards and three TDs.
- The first contest was in the 1948 Pear Bowl, a 27-20 Yotes victory that stands as their only one at SOU. The teams waited 15 years before their next meeting.
Art of the Steal: Through their first four games, the Raiders won by an average of 17.8 points. Through five games, they'd only trailed for a total of 40 minutes all season but had to duck third-place Rocky Mountain's upset bid in Ashland as Bears quarterback Drew Korf overthrew a two-point conversion attempt with 1:25 left in a 24-23 decision. Last week at Eastern Oregon, SOU trailed for 51 minutes before erasing a 24-10 fourth-quarter deficit and going up 31-27 for good on Trosin's 35-yard TD pass to Matt Boudreaux with 5:02 remaining. Two late interceptions helped their cause — AJ Cooper's second of the game, which preceded to go-ahead score, and Keegan Lawrence's, which went down as the final play of the game — but so, especially, did a bizarre turn of events with 1:31 to play. That's when Mountaineers running back Victor Dias appeared to be rushing in for a 22-yard TD before running into his own teammate at SOU's 5-yard line, causing a fumble that was recovered by Dunmore.
Deep Thoughts: The Raiders played nearly three full games without junior slot man Brosen Ader, who in his first two outings of the season averaged 165 yards with three TDs. Variety helped them maintain the fifth-best passing offense in the NAIA (346.8 yards per game): In his absence, 10 different targets collected catches every game. Ader made his return at EOU, though, with seven receptions, 99 yards and a TD.
The first time around against the Yotes, Ader made six catches for 198 yards and touchdowns of 38 and 86 yards, and the first is worth noting because it stands, remarkably, as the shortest of his career. His six TDs over the last two seasons have gone for 66, 38, 86, 74, 73 and 66 yards. The Raiders have made 20 receptions of 30 yards or more, including 10 for scores, though Ader owns the three longest.
- AJ Cooper last week became the first Raider to grab multiple interceptions in a game since Karrington Jones did so against Montana Western on Oct. 10, 2015. Keegan Lawrence's pick was his team-leading third of the season, and the senior safety also now leads the team in tackles with 51 after recording 10-plus in each of SOU's last three games.
- The Raiders have held six straight opponents under 30 points for the first time since they did so in seven straight games to end the 2003 campaign. In 50 Frontier contests prior to this season, their longest such stretch had been four games.
- SOU has had at least one 100-yard receiver in all six games after Jordan Suell hit triple digits for the third time on three catches last week. EOU's Brenden Kelly, with 206 yards, became the Raiders' first 100-plus-yard opponent in nine games dating back to last season.
- The Raiders continue to lead the NAIA in sacks per game, and with three more at EOU they brought their total to 26 compared to opponents' nine. Freshman Tre Holmes leads the team with six, two shy of the highest single-season individual total since the Raiders joined the Frontier (Juwuan Brown, 2012).
- Tanner Trosin's average 377.7 total yards ranks second nationally, and he's now passed for 300-plus yards in eight straight games. This season the senior has accounted for 15 passing TDs, five rushing TDs and two interceptions — even former NAIA Player of the Year Austin Dodge never got to 15 TDs in a season before throwing his third pick — and in 17 career Frontier games he's amassed 28 passing TDs, 15 rushing TDs and six interceptions. With 37 total passing TDs, he's tied with Mark Helfrich for fifth place on SOU's career list; and with 18 rushing TDs, he's two away from moving into sixth place on that list.
- An opposing tailback has yet to exceed 60 net rushing yards against SOU this season. The highest total for a Raider tailback was Rey Vega's 67 against C of I.
- The Raiders are 6-0 in the Frontier for the first time and 6-0 overall for the first time since 2014 and fourth time in school history. SOU joined the Frontier in 2012 and has since gone 42-14 in conference games; no other team has more than 35 wins during that stretch.
Home History: SOU will enter the game with a 95-58 all-time mark at Raider Stadium, including an 18-5 record in Frontier action. That includes a 12-1 mark against unranked Frontier opponents with an average margin of 31 points in those wins. The Raiders have won 15 consecutive home games in which they've scored at least 30 points.