ASHLAND, Ore. - The NAIA National Game of the Week lived up to its billing, as No. 19 Southern Oregon built a 24-point third-quarter lead and held off a furious late rally to upset No. 6 Carroll (Mont.) 52-49 Saturday afternoon at Raider Stadium
Southern Oregon improves to 6-2 overall, while Carroll falls to 6-3 overall and 6-2 in Frontier Conference play. The Raiders return to action next weekend, when they will travel to La Grande for an arch-rival rematch with Eastern Oregon.
The Raiders surpassed 700 yards of offense for the fourth consecutive week, totaling 719 while Carroll finished with 658 total yards. Austin Dodge (Vancouver, Wash./Skyview) set a new school record for individual single-game passing yards, connecting on 27 of 38 pass attempts for 526 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Dakota Stonehouse passed for 233 yards and four touchdowns for Carroll and added 184 yards and a score on 18 carries to lead the Fighting Saints to 425 rushing yards in the game.
Cole McKenzie (Red Bluff, Calif./Red Bluff) nearly set a program record with 234 receiving yards, falling three shy of the SOU record while catching 11 passes including two touchdowns. Patrick Donahue (Los Angeles, Calif./Franklin) caught nine passes to tie the SOU season record of 70, totaling 209 receiving yards. Manny Barragan (Yreka, Calif./Yreka) rushed for 153 yards and two touchdowns for the Raiders, while Mike Olson (Colfax, Calif./Colfax) added a pair of touchdown runs and a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown.
Chance Demarais ran for 139 yards on 18 carries and Dustin Rinker finished with 88 yards and a score for the Saints.
Southern Oregon scored touchdowns on seven of its first eight drives, with the lone non-score coming when SOU ran out of time in the opening half. The Raider defense forced punts on three of the Saints' first five drives, allowing the hosts to build a three-score lead before Carroll put together six consecutive scoring drives beginning late in the second quarter.
Carroll took the opening kickoff and marched down the field, 83 yards in 12 plays to set up a 4-yard Demarais touchdown run. The Raiders responded to the five-minute scoring drive with a quick-strike score, moving 82 yards on five plays in only 54 seconds to tie it up on a 30-yard pass from Dodge to McKenzie.
The Raider defense forced a Carroll punt and SOU claimed its first lead after another fast drive. Southern Oregon drove 80 yards on four plays to score on a two-yard run by Olson after only 1:15. Carroll scored on its next drive when Stonehouse took a broken third-down play and ran 64 yards for the touchdown. Scott Lyons' kick missed, and the Raiders retained a slim 14-13 lead.
Southern Oregon's next two drives each began with a deep pass from Dodge and ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Barragan. The Raiders took a 35-13 lead when Olson ran it in from five yards out for his second touchdown of the day, and it looked like SOU might pull away to an easy victory.
Carroll broke through on its next drive and worked its way back the rest of the game. Stonehouse found Jared Mayernik from 17 yards out to cap a nine-play, 80-yard drive. The Saints' two-point attempt failed, and SOU headed into halfime with a 35-19 lead.
The Raiders received the opening kickoff and proceeded to move 90 yards downfield on nine plays to score when Dodge hooked up with McKenzie from 37 yards out. Colin Amsler (Stevenson Ranch, Calif./West Ranch) missed the point after attempt, but SOU had pushed its lead back to 22 points.
Carroll struck back quickly when Rinker found a hole and ran 65 yards for a touchdown to make it 41-25. But the Raiders responded even more quickly when Olson fielded the kickoff two yards into his own end zone and ran it all the way back for the 100-yard touchdown return. Dodge found Zach Marshall (Camas, Wash./Camas) in the end zone on a two-point conversion attempt to give SOU its largest lead of the day at 49-25.
From that point on it was all Carroll. The Saints scored back-to-back touchdowns on passes to Graham Bogumill and Anthony Clark to pull within 10 points going into the fourth quarter. The Raiders looked like they might reclaim the momentum when they drove deep into the Saints' red zone, but the Carroll defense held and Amsler made a 22-yard field goal to make it 52-39.
The Saints's next drive worked methodically down the field, 11 plays for 77 yards before the SOU defense forced a Tom Yaremko 32-yard field goal to retain the two-score lead for SOU. It looked like the Raiders might have a chance to clinch it a few minutes later when the SOU defense forced a fourth-and-15 play at Carroll's 13-yard line with 6:40 to play. But after a Carroll timeout, Stonehouse hit Demarais for a 19-yard conversion. A few plays later Stonehouse converted a third-and-10 play with a pass to Mayernik down to the SOU 9-yard line, and the Carroll quarterback hit Jared Hunt on the next play for a touchdown that pulled the Saints within three at 52-49.
After running on the first play of its next drive, Southern Oregon returned to the play that worked best for the Raiders all day - the deep pass. Dodge connected with McKeznie for 48 yards down to the Carroll 26-yard line. A 15-yard penalty on SOU's next play gave the Raiders a difficult first-and-25 situation, and two plays later they faced third-and-26. Dodge found Clay Sierra (La Crescenta, Calif./Crescenta Valley) 22 yards downfield, but that still left SOU facing fourth down with four yards to go.
Southern Oregon took a timeout with 1:46 remaining, and following the timeout Carroll jumped offside on the fourth-down play to give the Raiders the first down and all but ice the game. The Raiders rushed the next four plays and eventually turned the ball back over to Carroll with two seconds remaining on the Carroll 16-yard line, but Stonehouse's desperation pass fell incomplete to clinch the upset.