Raiders 3-3 heading into Montana State-Northern matchup
A three-game winning streak is in the Southern Oregon football team’s sights as it travels to face last-place Montana State-Northern in a Frontier Conference game Saturday at Tilleman Field.
After starting the month with a 23-5 win at Rocky Mountain (Mont.), the Raiders (3-3 overall, 2-2 FC) evened their record last week by pounding Arizona Christian 49-7. Another successful outing against the Lights (1-5, 0-4) would set them up nicely for next week’s highly anticipated matchup with No. 6-ranked Carroll, the FC’s only remaining unbeaten team, at Raider Stadium.
HEAD TO HEAD:
The Raiders are 15-0 in the series with MSU-Northern, a record that marks the longest head-to-head winning streak against any team they’ve ever faced. Eight of those games have been played in Havre and 10 have been of the Frontier variety. In the FC matchups, they’ve won by an average margin of 32.4 points. Last year’s meeting was also at Tilleman Field, where SOU won 56-6 with its highest point total since 2016 and 565 yards of offense. Blake Asciutto, who is slated to get the start at quarterback Saturday, completed 21-of-28 pass attempts for 285 yards and four touchdowns in one half of action that day.
After posting seven sacks last week, the Raiders now rank fourth in the NAIA in sacks per game (4.2). They have recorded at least four sacks in five consecutive games, a feat no other SOU team had accomplished in at least 20 years. With 26 total sacks, they have already surpassed their 2022 total. Noah Turnbull’s total of seven ranks first in the Frontier and sixth in the NAIA.
Seth Miller’s 63-yard interception return last week was SOU’s first pick-six since 2019 and longest ever in a Frontier game. Miller has two interceptions and Spencer Kuffel leads the team with fourth, ranking fifth on the NAIA leaderboard. Only 18 teams in the country have more interceptions than SOU (9).
Blake Asciutto last week completed 20-of-31 passes for 264 yards. He registered two passing TDs, one rushing TD and a reception TD. No Raider had ever previously accumulated a score of each variety in a Frontier game. Asciutto is completing 56 percent of his passes for 9.8 yards per attempt.
Coming off a Frontier Player of the Week performance at Rocky, running back Avery McCuaig went for two more touchdowns and 94 yards on just seven carries against ACU. He is the first Raider to punch in 10 rushing TDs over a five-game span during SOU’s Frontier era (2012-present) and is among 13 players in the country with double-figure rushing TDs. He also ranks second in the Frontier in yards per carry at 5.8.
MORE ON NORTHERN:
The Lights have dropped 65 of their last 66 Frontier games, last winning a conference counter on Oct. 23, 2021 against Eastern Oregon. Since that victory, they’ve scored seven points or fewer in 16 of 17 FC contests.
Jerome Souers, SOU’s offensive coordinator in 2021, is their second-year head coach. He got his first win with the Lights in this year’s opener, 14-0 over Mayville State. They also nearly knocked off Arizona Christian, losing 21-20 on a last-minute touchdown pass, but have totaled six points in three games since. Quarterback Oakley Kopp played well in Northern’s first four games, completing 50-of-77 passes for 391 yards, but was out the last two weeks. The Lights have gone to a run-heavy attack featuring Mason Dionne, who has 236 yards on 110 carries.
AROUND THE FRONTIER:
No. 6 Carroll and No. 9 College of Idaho both moved up one spot in the NAIA Top 25 poll entering their clash this week in Helena, where the Saints will enter with a half-game lead in the standings. The teams shared last year’s title and are both set to make visits to Ashland – Carroll on Oct. 28 and College of Idaho on Nov. 11. Montana Western and Montana Tech, which both stand at 3-1 in FC play, are Nos. 15 and 16 respectively in the rankings.