SALEM — A 23-17 Southern Oregon advantage quickly turned into a 31-23 Willamette victory Saturday thanks to a 46-yard punt return by the Bearcats Jose Green.
Willamette improved to 3-0, while Southern Oregon fell to 1-3. The Raiders travel to Linfield next Saturday.
The Willamette victory ruined a big day by SOU senior running back Marlon Rosales. Rosales had a career-best 166 yards rushing on 27 carries.
The Raiders jumped on the board early as Corey O'Neill nailed a 27-yard field goal following a Willamette fumble on their opening drive for a 3-0 lead with just over four minutes gone in the game.
Rosales plowed his way in from a yard out for a 10-0 SOU lead to wrap up the first quarter scoring.
After a Mitchell Rowan field goal cut the lead to 10-3 to start the second quarter, the Raider defense took over. A forced fumble gave SOU the ball at the Willamette 11, but the offense couldn't punch it in on four straight running plays.
It took two plays before the Raider defense again gave the ball back to the offense, this one on an interception by Akeem Jackson. Jackson returned the ball to the Willamette 3.
After a 1-yard run, senior quarterback Bryan Lee-Lauduski connected with Brent Koontz from 2 yards out for a 17-3 SOU lead with 3:03 remaining in the second quarter.
Willamette closed out the half with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Grant Leslie to Scott Schoettgen. Senior Will Watson blocked the point-after kick to keep the score at 17-9 heading into halftime.
The Bearcats turned to their defense to tie the game at 17-17 at the beginning of the third quarter on a 52-yard fumble recovery for a score.
A pair of third-quarter O'Neill field goals pushed the SOU lead to 23-17 before Willamette forced the Raiders to punt early in the fourth quarter. The SOU punt went off the side of Steve Palmer's foot, and Green picked the ball up on the run and gave the Bearcats their first lead of the game.
Willamette added another score late in the fourth quarter.
Lee-Lauduski was 17 of 34 for 215 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Senior Darryl Price had five catches for 36 yards. Senior tight end Brian Harding had two catches for a team-high 70 yards.
Jason Young and Kevin Harrell led the SOU defense with nine tackles each.
Southern Oregon 10 7 6 0 — 23
Willamette 0 9 8 14 —31
S — FG O'Neill 27
S — Rosales 1 run (O'Neill kick)
W — FG Rowan 33
S — Koontz 2 pass from Lee-Lauduski (O'Neill kick)
W — Schoettgen 19 pass from Leslie (Rowan kick)
W — Kahler 52 fumble recovery (Schoettgen pass from Leslie)
S — FG O'Neill 31
S — FG O'Neill 28
W — Green 46 punt return (Rowan kick)
W — Me. Woo 3 run (Rowan kick)
First Downs 20 16
Rushes-Yards 38-158 46-223
Passing Yards 215 74
Comp-Att-Int 17-35-1 7-15-1
Total Yards 373 297
Punts 5-30.0 5-40.0
Fumbles-lost 1-1 4-2
Penalties-yards 6-70 5-60
Southern Oregon — Rosales 27-166, Brown 5-1, Lee-Lauduski 5-(-5), team 1-(-4).
Willamette — Me. Woo16-120, Horne 11-68, Ma. Woo 5-15, Anthong 3-13, Johnson 8-8, Green 1-2, Leslie 2-(-3).
Southern Oregon — Lee-Laudusky 17-34-1 215, team 0-1-0 0.
Willamette — Leslie 7-15-1 74.
Southern Oregon — Price 5-36, Beach 4-29, Patenaude 3-41, Harding 2-70, Dukeshire 2-37, Koontz 1-2.
Willamette — Me. Woo 3-43, Johnson 2-3, Schoettgen 1-19, Shepherd 1-9.
RAIDERS 3, CORBAN 0 — At Ashland, Southern Oregon continued its hot streak over Corban College with a 25-14, 25-17, 25-20 victory at McNeal Pavilion.
The Raiders improved to 7-7 overall, 5-1 in Cascade Conference play with their fourth straight win. Corban fell to 5-6 and 3-3.
The victory sets up a showdown Tuesday at 17th-ranked and first-place Oregon Tech.
SOU has now defeated Corban 17 of 18 times dating back to the 2000 season.
All-Americans Mia Wortel and Lindsey Stone continued to come up huge for the Raiders. Wortel finished with 13 kills and just two errors, and Stone had 35 assists.
Maggie Rivers had 14 digs for the Raiders.
RAIDER MEN WIN — At Seattle, Southern Oregon upset third-ranked Simon Fraser to claim the men's team title in the open division of the Washington Sundogger Invitational.
The meet was the first for the program under head coach Brent Ericksen.
The Raider men finished with 51 points, while Academy of Art scored 72 and Simon Fraser 81.
Four Raiders placed in the top 15. Sophomore David Laney was fifth over the 8,000-meter course in 25:02, Cameron Kreuz 10th in 25:16, Joe Rath 11th in 25:17 and Anthony Monteleone 15th in 25:22. SOU sophomore Ryan Ghelfi was 20th in 25:43.
On the women's side, sophomore Kristen Juveland was the top Raider finisher at 110th with a time of 25:55. Whitney Riehl was 118th in 26:10.