SOU football team improves to 3-3
A 49-7 final score accurately reflected Southern Oregon’s thorough dominance of Arizona Christian on Saturday afternoon at Raider Stadium, where the rout was on by the middle of the second quarter of the teams’ first-ever matchup.
The Raiders (3-3 overall, 2-2 Frontier Conference) evened their record by humming on both sides of the ball in their second consecutive win. They averaged 7.3 yards per play offensively for a total of 517 that marked their highest since the 2018 season finale. Their defense flattened the Firestorm (2-5, 1-4) to 208 yards, posted seven sacks for the first time in five years and came up with three takeaways.
By the end of the first half, they led 35-0 behind junior quarterback Blake Asciutto, who in his second start completed 20-of-31 attempts for 264 yards and two touchdowns. He started the day with a five-yard dive of his own past the goal line, and as time expired in the second quarter he caught a reverse receiver pass from Ben Rash for a three-yard score.
Senior running back Avery McCuaig, the reigning FC Offensive Player of the Week, netted 94 yards on just seven carries. He stayed atop the conference’s rushing TD leaderboard with two more, giving him 10 over SOU’s last five games and making him the first Raider in the Frontier era to reach that number in a five-game span.
Seth Miller, a senior safety, provided the defensive highlight of the day with a 63-yard interception return in the third quarter. The pick-six was SOU’s first since 2019 and longest ever in a Frontier contest. It was his second pick of the year, and Jaxon Jedrykowski later added another.
Eleven different Raiders recorded at least one reception. Tight end Jeremiah Faulstick accounted for a team-high four of them, including a TD pass from Asciutto in the second quarter. Sawyer Cleveland accumulated 78 receiving yards, including a 54-yard deep ball from Asciutto that completed SOU’s scoring in the third.
The Firestorm had no such luck through the air, misfiring on 15 of their 27 pass attempts while being harassed by SOU’s offensive line throughout the day. Gabe Thomas led the Raiders with two sacks. Adonis Jackson, Bryson Kievit, Garrett McCray, Miles Montgomery, Josiah Purchase and Braeden Yee were the others to get in on the act.
The Raiders have registered four-plus sacks in five consecutive outings, a feat no other SOU team has accomplished in at least 20 years. Their average of 4.2 per game ranks third in the NAIA.
Next week at last-place Montana State-Northern, they have a shot at a three-game winning streak for the first time since 2019. They return home Oct. 28 to face first-place Carroll (Mont.), the No. 7-ranked team in the NAIA.