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Raiders struggle in return against Rocky Mountain

BILLINGS, Mont. — The rust Southern Oregon spent 22 months accumulating was apparent in Saturday night's season-opening 42-28 loss to Rocky Mountain (Mont.) at Herb Klindt Field.

The Raiders went into halftime trailing 28-14, marred by 14 penalties, and gave up two quick touchdowns to start the third quarter — the second on a 50-plus-yard fumble recovery return by Battlin' Bears defensive lineman Dylan Beridon after a sack of Trent Banner shook the ball loose.

Unofficially, Bears sophomore Nathan Dick completed 19 of 30 passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns.

The game started inauspiciously with a SOU long-snap that turned into a safety and a Bears field goal. The Raiders briefly took the lead, 7-5, on their fourth possession of the first quarter when quarterback Matt Struck connected with Sawyer Cleveland for a 96-yard reception, leading to Banner's 2-yard keeper into the end zone.

Twenty seconds into the second quarter, however, SOU's roughing-the-kicker penalty enabled a 14-yard touchdown pass from Dick to Carter Garsjo. Minutes later, another botched long-snap went for another safety, and Dick's ensuing TD pass to Lucas Overton suddenly made it 28-7.

Banner found Ben Graziani for an 8-yard TD pass before halftime.

In the second half, Struck hit Jackson Clemmer with an 8-yard TD pass and later rushed in for a 4-yard score to try and rally the Raiders.

SOU will attempt to rebound at home next Saturday against Montana State-Northern. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneSouthern Oregon University's first football practice at Raider Stadium in Ashland Thursday morning.