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Diggers down SOU in Frontier Conference slugfest

BUTTE, Mont. — Southern Oregon was on the short end of a defensive slugfest against Montana Tech on Saturday afternoon, falling 17-14 at Alumni Coliseum despite shutting out the Orediggers in the second half.

The physical Frontier Conference affair was costly for both sides. On the Orediggers’ second drive, they lost their All-American running back, Jed Fike, after his eighth carry. And with the Raiders approaching field-goal range on their final drive, quarterback Wyatt Hutchinson took a hard sack, Montana Tech’s fourth, and had to be carted off the field.

Following a lengthy delay, the next play from scrimmage resulted in a Damaree Morris interception of Hutchinson’s replacement, Chase Knutz, on a third-and-27 desperation throw that all but sealed the outcome with two minutes left. It was the Raiders’ first turnover of the afternoon, but they were held to 231 yards and the point total was the lowest they’ve produced in a Frontier Conference game.

SOU dropped to 0-4 overall and 0-3 in the Frontier. The Diggers (2-1) won their second straight.

The Raiders trailed 17-7 at halftime before seizing momentum in the third quarter and shutting down Tech on all six of its second-half possessions. Working a short, 30-yard field thanks to an errant punt, Hutchinson left the pocket on a third-and-goal try and hit a wide-open Jordan Suell for a five-yard touchdown with 2:53 left in the third.

SOU came up empty on three fourth-quarter drives. On the last, two Hutchinson rushes totaling 32 yards and his 15-yard completion to Suell brought the Raiders to Tech’s 40-yard line. A chop-block penalty and the aforementioned sack of Hutchinson by Jacob Clarke and Ike Schweikert promptly set them back before the interception.

Pressured all day and stunted by a handful of drops, Hutchinson finished 15-of-33 for 152 yards. He had a 20-yard TD pass to tight end Addison Whitham that made the score 7-7 in the first quarter.

Tech quarterback Jet Campbell completed 19-of-31 attempts for 246 yards. He rushed in a 10-yard score in the first quarter, and 27 seconds before halftime he caught a seven-yard TD pass from receiver Kiley Caprara that was set up by a reverse.

Devin Holden got Campbell for the first interception of his career and added a pair of pass break-ups. Collin Crown, Jake Regino and August Forrest III led the Raiders with nine tackles each.

SOU will play four of its next five games at home, starting at 1 p.m. next Saturday against Carroll (Mont.).

Close up of an american football on the field, players in the background